Craig v Bob Lindfield & Son Ltd UKEAT/0220/15; (2016) EMPLR 008
Employment Appeal Tribunal
Where the contract of employment entitles the employer to lay employees off without pay, there is no implied requirement that the period of lay-off must be reasonable.
C’s employment contract allowed the employer to lay him off or put him on short-time working for an indefinite period without pay. After four weeks’ lay-off without pay, he resigned and claimed he had been constructively dismissed because the lay-off period was longer than was reasonable.
The tribunal rejected his claim, saying there was no implied requirement that the period of lay off had to be reasonable; and anyway, the period was reasonable. The EAT upheld the decision, pointing out that employees have a right to claim a redundancy payment after four weeks of lay-off or short-time working. That right left no room for implying a further contractual term that the lay-off period had to be reasonable.
However, the EAT left open the possibility of a constructive dismissal claim based on the implied duty of trust and confidence, for example where there is no proper reason for the lay-off. The judge gave the example of an employer laying off their employees and replacing them with people who are prepared to work for less money.
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