Pets At Home Ltd v MacKenzie UKEAT/0146/17/RN

Appeal against a finding of constructive unfair dismissal. Appeal allowed.

By a majority Judgment, the ET Lay Members upheld the Claimant's complaint of constructive unfair dismissal, a conclusion that depended on the majority's prior finding that the Claimant had previously suffered direct pregnancy and maternity discrimination; although the ET unanimously found that the Claimant's free-standing complaints in those respects had been brought out of time, the majority considered that subsequently learning of the apparent promotion of a colleague was the final straw for the Claimant and this, taken together with the earlier discrimination, amounted to a breach of the implied obligation to maintain trust and confidence.  The ET majority was further satisfied that the Claimant had resigned in response to the earlier pregnancy and maternity discrimination and had not affirmed the breach of the implied term, given that she had resigned shortly after the final straw. The Respondent appealed against those findings.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET majority's findings of discrimination could not stand. On the first stage of the burden of proof, either the ET majority had failed to have regard to all the evidence, and/or reached perverse findings in some respects, or it had failed to explain its reasoning so as to allow the Respondent to understand why it had lost. As for the second stage, the ET majority failed to demonstrate that it had engaged with the Respondent's explanation and the evidence in that regard. As for the ET majority's conclusions on the constructive unfair dismissal claim, it had needed to be clear as to what it was that the Claimant was alleging was the final straw.

Published: 23/03/2018 12:24

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