LRD Booklets January 2018

Case law at work - 14th edition



[pages 4-6]

This is the 14th edition of Case Law at Work, the LRD’s key source of information on recent employment law cases. It contains clear summaries and updates of important cases, many of which are not contained in other legal guides. It can be used as a discrete resource and as a companion to LRD’s annual employment law guide Law at Work (

There is a huge amount of employment legislation governing the workplace, from the right to be paid a minimum wage to laws protecting workers from suffering discrimination. While this legislation sets out the basic position, it cannot provide enough detail to cover all the circumstances in which it may need to be applied.

Courts and tribunals are therefore called upon to decide how legislation should be interpreted. Their decisions provide a valuable insight into how unfairness at work can most appropriately be challenged and how, in practice, judges find a balance between competing claims.

The LRD’s annual employment law guide, Law at Work, is a comprehensive guide to all key areas of employment law, and includes many significant cases. However, it is beyond the scope of Law at Work to provide further details of the cases, or to include more than the key decisions. These further details are provided in Case Law at Work.

The tribunal or court reference is given at the end of each case.

Transcripts of the cases summarised in this booklet can be downloaded free of cost from the website of the British and Irish Legal Information Institute:

In the past, employment tribunal (ET) decisions (as opposed to those of the Employment Appeal Tribunal or the Court of Appeal) were not published. This is because ET decisions do not bind other courts or tribunals. Even so, they are a useful indicator of the factors that tribunals consider when making decisions. In March 2017, these judgments became publicly available for the first time via a new online searchable database at: Anyone wanting earlier tribunal rulings can attend in person at the tribunal offices in Bury St Edmunds for English and Welsh decisions, or in Glasgow for Scottish decisions, or order a copy of a specific ruling for a fee. Where a case was brought with the support of a union, the union may be able to supply a copy of the tribunal’s written judgment.

This edition begins with what is undoubtedly the most important ruling of 2017, and possibly the most important employment law ruling of the decade — the victory by public services union UNISON securing the abolition of tribunal fees.