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Could a dismissal be implied when an agency employer fails to find further work for one of its employees?

The EAT has heard the case of ‘Sandle -v- Adecco’ and has answered no.

The background
In this case, the Claimant, Ms Sandle was an agency worker employed by the Respondent, Adecco, a recruitment agency that provided temporary agency workers to its clients. Ms Sandle was assigned to a company who due to concerns over her performance decided to terminate her assignment. The company advised Adecco of this and gave Ms Sandle one month’s notice. Adecco did not take steps to find other work for Ms Sandle, and they did not appear to make much effort to contact her, as they assumed that she was not interested in further agency work. Ms Sandle, did not contact Adecco at this time in respect of alternative work.

Ms Sandle chose to bring a claim for unfair dismissal at the Employment Tribunal against Adecco.

The outcome
The Employment Tribunal found that there had been no dismissal as Adecco had done nothing to communicate a dismissal to Ms Sandle. Ms Sandle chose to appeal this decision.

On appeal, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), agreed that an employer does not need to directly communicate the termination of a contract of employment to an employee, and it can in fact be implied, for example, by a failure to pay the employee, by issuing the employee with their P45, or by ending the employee’s current role and offering the employee an alternative role. The EAT did confirm that when terminating a contract of employment there must be a form of communication and the employee must be made aware of this.

In this case there was no such communication and therefore, Ms Sandle’s appeal failed.

Point to note…
This is in an interesting case as there was no clear communication of the employment terminating by Adecco to the individual. Adecco completed a P45 for payroll purposes, but it did not send that on to the individual in this case. If the termination had been communicated to the individual and for example the P45 had been sent on to her, the outcome of this case could potentially have been different for the Agency involved.

Should you wish to discuss any matters regarding agency workers or the termination of contracts of employment, you should contact one of our experienced legal team on hello@peachlaw.co.uk or on 0161 478 3800.

Could a dismissal be implied when an agency employer fails to find further work for one of its employees?

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