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Court upholds sacking over a Christmas overtime row

23 Dec 2016
by Sharma Solicitors

An employment tribunal in November 2016 decided that a company fairly dismissed a worker when her refusal to do overtime for Christmas could have sparked a staff rebellion.

In Edwards v Bramble Foods Ltd, the tribunal heard that employee, Mrs. Edwards, refused Saturday work when the rest of the workforce agreed.

The small food company has a busy period between September and November when it produces hampers for Christmas.

Informal chats did not work

Mrs Edwards insisted she wanted her Saturday mornings with her husband despite a clause in her employment contract requiring extra hours work when necessary.

Even informal chats between managers and her that covered her impact on the workload of others did not resolve the issue.

But she got into trouble when colleagues started complaining that she mocked them for working overtime.

The tribunal agreed with the employer that other workers could withdraw their overtime agreement if Mrs Edwards was excused. Company managers feared that this could affect their ability to fulfil their orders.

The tribunal judged: ‘The consequences for the respondent had the claimant not been dismissed might have been disastrous. The respondent had been extraordinarily patient…Dismissal was unarguably within the range of reasonable responses to a very difficult situation…”

The Leicestershire-based firm employs around 75 people.

The consequences of Christmas can lead to problems for employer and employee. So be wise men and women and get seasonal advice from Sharma Solicitors on 03454300145.

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