Miss Alda Simoes v De Sede UK Ltd
If an employee is dismissed for asserting that the employer has breached their statutory rights, they will be able to bring a claim that they have been automatically unfairly dismissed. In Miss Alda Simoes v De Sede UK Ltd the issue was whether the protection would apply where the employee had raised concerns when instructions had been given to work extra hours rather than concerns regarding extra hours that had been worked.
Miss Simoes was asked to work for 14 consecutive days in order to cover her manager’s holiday. She raised concerns about the lack of any days off and referred to advice from ACAS that this would breach her rights under the Working Time Regulations 1998. Her manager resented her raising these concerns directly before his holiday and when he returned Miss Simoes was dismissed. She claimed that this was an automatic unfair dismissal.
The claim had initially been dismissed on the ground that the protection could only apply in respect of a complaint regarding a statutory right that had been breached. However, The Employment Appeal Tribunal disagreed. It held that it was not necessary for the shift or work pattern to have been completed for the alleged infringement to have occurred. It was the instruction which was alleged to have infringed her rights and she qualified for the protection in relation to automatic unfair dismissal.