EMPLOYMENT LAW;Extract

Question 1:

Consider the extract below:

.we take it as inherent. that there may well be conduct which is either calculated or likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of confidence and trust between employer and employee, which a literal interpretation of the written words of the contract might appear to justify and it is in this sense that we consider that in the field of employment law it is proper to imply an overriding obligation [of trust and respect]. which is independent of, and in addition to, the literal interpretation of the actions which are permitted to the employer under the terms of the contract.
Mr Justice Knox, United Bank v Akhtar [1989] IRLR 507, 512

With reference to the above judgment, and other relevant legal authority, critically evaluate the development and application of the implied duty of mutual trust and respect (or confidence).

Question 2:

You have been asked to advise an insurance company, Frontline Limited (Frontline), in relation to a number of employment related matters that have arisen. Frontline provides insurance products such as car insurance, home insurance and life assurance. It operates over two sites, one in Halifax in the north of England, the other in Swindon in the south west of England. 

Ahsan has been employed by Frontline since January 2015 working in its on-site cafeteria Halifax. He attended a final performance management meeting on 21 August 2017 on the grounds of capability. At the meeting, he was told that the decision as to whether he would be dismissed or not would be communicated to him in writing. The next day, Ahsan went away to visit his cousin and returned three days later, on 25 August 2017. Upon his return, he opened his post which included a letter from Frontline dated 21 August 2017 stating that his employment was being terminated with immediate effect. On 24 November 2017, Ahsan submitted a claim for unfair dismissal to Leeds Employment Tribunal. 

Gerry is a team leader in the house insurance claims department. He has worked for Frontline for 8 years and has until recently had an impeccable record. Last week, Gerry took his team for a teambuilding event that involved a walk on Ilkley Moor followed by dinner at a nearby pub. The following day Gerry and some of his team members were discussing the walk and that Gerry had been a little unsteady on his feet after the pub dinner. Sally, Gerry’s manager, saw Gerry go up to one of his team members, Iqbal, and violently grab his shirt collar. Sally thought she overheard Gerry telling Iqbal to ‘shut your mouth or I’ll shut it for you’. Sally reviewed Frontline’s staff handbook and noted that the definition of gross misconduct includes ‘threatening and / or violent behaviour’. Sally called Gerry into her office and dismissed him with immediate effect.

Karen is part of the human resources team at Frontline. She has been in a meeting with the senior leadership team and has been told that Frontline may need to make 35 people at its Halifax site redundant. Two departments will be affected, the loss adjustment section and the actuary team. The proposal is for the work to be absorbed by the relevant teams at the company’s other site in Swindon. Karen would like confirmation that this is a redundancy situation and a brief summary of the process she needs to follow to mitigate the risk of future claims for unfair dismissal. 

With reference to relevant legal authority, explain the legal issues arising in each of the matters outlined above and advise Frontline as to its position in relation to those issues and as to any potential liability and/or action it should take to reduce any potential liability.

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