News and Events

Automatic Unfair Dismissal: Parental Leave

  • Posted

Could a claimant claim unfair dismissal on the basis that he had ‘sought to take’ parental leave when he had not made a formal application for leave at the point he was dismissed?

Yes, held the EAT in Wright v Hilton Food Solutions. 

The Claimant worked for the Respondent as a supply chain manager. He was made redundant. He alleged that the real reason for his dismissal was that he had sought to take parental leave. The Respondent applied for his claim to be struck out on the basis that he could not have ‘sought’ to take parental leave, as he had not made a formal application for it during his employment. The tribunal refused the strike-out request.

The EAT, agreeing with the tribunal, held that an employee could show that they had ‘sought’ to take parental leave without actually needing to have made a formal application. You need to look at the surrounding facts and discussions.

Whether an employee has ‘sought’ to take parental leave is a question of fact for the employment tribunal having considered all the relevant evidence.