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Chambers & Partners
08/03/1996

Speciality Care Plc v. Pachela & Anor

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Employment Appeal Tribunal

Employer's appeal against an industrial tribunal decision that the respondent employees had been unfairly dismissed. HELD: At the time of their dismissal neither respondent had completed two years continuous employment and their complaints of unfair dismissal were based on s.154 Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 which excluded the two year qualifying period where the reason for dismissal related to trade union participation. There had been a change of ownership in the nursing home where the respondents worked and they had joined a new trade union as advised by the employer. According to the appellants they were dismissed because they refused to work new shifts. However the industrial tribunal found that the principal reason for their dismissal was not their refusal to work the new shifts but the fact that they had used the union as the channel for making their protest.

HELD: The tribunal had failed to set out its reasoning sufficiently. The case would be remitted to another tribunal. In Discount Tobacco and Confectionery Ltd v Armitage (1995) ICR 431 [FN 1] it was held that it was open to an industrial tribunal to hold that an employee had been dismissed for being a member of a union if he had been dismissed for invoking the assistance of the union in relation to his employment. It was for the industrial tribunal to which the case was now being remitted to decide what had really caused the employee's dismissal and to answer that that question robustly. Appeal allowed.

[1996] ICR 633,[1996] IRLR 248

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