Scottish Federation of Housing Associations v Jones [2022] EAT 114

Appeal against a finding that s108(4) ERA 1996 applied such that the Claimant could bring a claim of unfair dismissal despite having less than 2 years' service. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant asked permission from the Respondent to stand as a candidate for Scottish Labour at the 2019 General Election. Permission was refused and she withdrew her candidature. She was later dismissed, the Respondent giving a variety of reasons but did not rely on her request for permission to stand for Scottish Labour. The Claimant did not accept the reasons given for her dismissal. She submitted that the true reason for her dismissal was that she asked her employer for permission to stand as a candidate for Scottish Labour in the General Election of 2019. However, she did accept that she was not dismissed because she was a member of the Scottish Labour Party or because of her political opinions. The ET concluded that s108(4) applied such that she could make a claim of unfair dismissal despite having less than 2 years' service. The ET said the words “relates to” in s108(4) meant that even although her political opinions and affiliation to the Labour Party had nothing directly to do with her dismissal, they were nevertheless related to her dismissal since without such opinions and affiliation she would not have sought to stand as a candidate. Her opinions and affiliation with Scottish Labour had an indirect relationship with her dismissal but this was sufficient to bring her within s108(4). The Respondent appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal. Where the putative unfair dismissal was because the employee had asked for permission from her employer to stand as a candidate in a General Election and where it was expressly accepted by the Claimant that her employer’s refusal was unconnected to her political opinions or membership of the Scottish Labour party and where her terms of contract contained a political neutrality clause, s108(4) did not apply.

Published: 05/08/2022 11:23

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