Morales v Premier Fruits (Covent Garden) Ltd is one of the first reported cases to be heard by an ET relating to coronavirus issues. In specified categories of automatically unfair dismissal claims, including trade union membership/activity and whistleblowing, an ET can grant an employee interim relief, i.e. an order requiring the employer to continue to employ the employee until the case is heard. The employer’s business suffered a significant downturn due to the pandemic and proposed a 25% wage reduction. A trade union raised a grievance on M’s behalf, which also alleged that a lack of personal protective equipment was endangering the health and safety of all staff. The grievance was not upheld, and M was dismissed supposedly for refusing to accept the wage cut. An ET granted M’s application for interim relief based on his alleged unfair dismissal because of his trade union membership and/or activities as it found it likely that M would be able to show that he was dismissed because he had sought the assistance of the union to bring a grievance. Mr Tanner, a manager, had acted extremely adversely to M bringing a grievance via the Union and had made remarks recorded at a meeting that indicated strong hostility to union involvement. However, the application for interim relief for alleged dismissal relating to whistleblowing was not granted as it was not clear that M would have been dismissed if he had raised the matter of health and safety with Tanner himself without involving the union.
This provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.