This week’s case round-upWorking from the park was not misconduct Bartholomew v LK Group Ltd, High Court, 25 February 2003, All ER (D) 340A managing director was found not guilty of misconduct for carrying out muchof his work in clubs, cafés and while walking in the park. The High Courtdecided that over time, his employer had acquiesced to his unconventional workstyle, and that, if it amounted to a breach of contract, his employer hadwaived the right to rely on the breach to terminate his employment contract. ofemployment. In 1993, Bartholomew was employed as managing director of LK Group Ltd. Hisworking practices were unconventional, in that he often worked from home, inhis car, in cafés and while walking his dog. In 1998, LK Group was sold toSchroeder Ventures, and retaining Bartholomew as MD was a key factor in thesale. However, disputes subsequently arose about his work style, and he wasasked to complete a work schedule to account for his whereabouts. In January 2001, he was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct forunauthorised absence from the office, not working normal office hours and lyingabout his whereabouts (as the work schedule was found to be inaccurate).Bartholomew brought a claim for breach of contract in the High Court. The court found in his favour. He was not guilty of gross misconduct, orconduct amounting to a repudiatory breach in failing to give full and accuratedetails of his true whereabouts and work pattern. It found there was nodeliberate dishonesty on his part. Bartholomew had reasonably believed that his style of working was acceptedby his employer. Accordingly, nothing in his conduct justified his dismissal. Automatic termination Cobley v Forward Technology Industries plc, C/A, 14 May 2003, All ER(D)175 Cobley was a director and chief executive of Forward Technology Industries.His service agreement specifically provided that on ceasing to be a director,his employment would automatically terminate. Following the company’s acquisition by a US company, Cobley was immediatelyremoved from the newly-formed board, and as a result, he was also dismissedfrom his role as chief executive. Cobley brought a complaint of unfair dismissal, which was defended on thegrounds that, following the acquisition, it was entirely fair and reasonablefor there to be a change in the board of directors and to dismiss Cobley fromhis senior post. The tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the reason forCobley’s dismissal fell within some other substantial reason (section 98 (1)Employment Rights Act 1996), and that his dismissal was within the range ofreasonable responses open to the employer following the takeover. Cobleyappealed. His appeal was dismissed. The Court of Appeal confirmed that whereemployment is directly linked to a position on the board of directors,automatic dismissal as a result of removal from the board can be legitimate onthe grounds of ‘some other substantial reason’, and also fair. Since Cobley had been lawfully removed from the board of directors, theexpress provision within his service agreement took effect – automaticallyresulting in the termination of his employment. Previous Article Next Article Case round-upOn 3 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.