Cetinsoy v London United Busways: relocation not substantial change to employees’ material detriment

Cetinsoy v London United Busways: relocation not substantial change to employees’ material detriment

Employment solicitor, Nathalie Stewart, takes a look at the decision in Cetinsoy v London United Busways Limited, and what it means for employers.

In this case, drivers were employed by a bus company operating out of a depot in Westbourne Park depot.  The route they worked on transferred under TUPE to London United Busways. As a result, the drivers were required to move their base to Stamford Brook. For each of them this involved somewhere between thirty and sixty minutes travelling per day.

The bus drivers resigned claiming constructive and unfair dismissal. They failed at the Employment Tribunal and also at the EAT.

Although it was a contractual term that they worked out of Westbourne Park, and the requirement that they work out of Stamford Brook was a breach of contract, it was not a fundamental breach of contract.

In TUPE terms, an employee is also entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal in circumstances where they resign in response to “a substantial change to the employee’s working conditions to their material detriment”.

Again, the Tribunal didn't think that such a detriment was what the employee was being subjected to. So they were not entitled to resign.

What this means for you

On the face of it this is a helpful case in circumstances where an employer is considering taking over a contract or tendering for a new contract that will bring with it employees. But it does carry with it the usual caveat which is that TUPE cases are fact sensitive.

It’s also important to remember that the EAT has not been asked whether the decision was right or wrong. But rather whether it was so wrong that it would be considered perverse. Nonetheless an instructive case.

Need advice? We can help you

Call Nathalie Stewart now on 01482 324252 or email nls@gosschalks.co.uk

You can find out more about our Employment Law services here.

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