(Sunnyvale, CA) – The UK Supreme Court has ruled that employees of UK companies who worked outside the UK could raise a claim of ‘unfair dismissal’ in a UK employment tribunal, signifying far reaching implications for companies that employ UK expats.
The Supreme Court ruled that the employee (who worked outside the UK) has the right to file a case of unfair dismissal owing to his “substantial connection” to the United Kingdom. This verdict brings clarity to the “substantial connection” clause forunfair dismissal cases in the private sector.
Facts of the case – Ravat v Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Limited  UKSC 1)
* Mr. Ravat, a British citizen lived in the UK and was employed by a UK subsidiary for the Halliburton group of companies. Since 2003 Mr. Ravat has been working on a rotational basis with 28 days in Libya and 28 days of leave in the UK.
* At the time of dismissal Ravat was working in Libya.
* Ravat was categorized by Halliburton as a ‘UK commuter’ and the company took care of his travel and overseas accommodation costs. He received UK salary and benefits package and was paid in sterling pound.
* Ravat also paid income taxes and national insurance contributions in the UK.
On being dismissed for redundancy in 2006, Ravat filed a case of unfair dismissal in the UK employment tribunal.
The Supreme Court Ruling
The UK Supreme Court (SC) ruled that even though the employee worked outside the UK, he could file a case of unfair dismissal in a UK employment tribunal due to his “substantial connection” to the UK involving his employment. This subsequently brought his claim under the scope of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (“ERA 1996″), which does not have any territorial limitations. Therefore, UK expats working abroad whose employment hassubstantial connection to the UK can fall under the jurisdiction of the ERA.
The SC ruling will be applicable to all types of unfair dismissal claims as well as other claims (e.g.: those involving unlawful deduction from wages and statutory redundancy payments, etc.).
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