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These cases are from the lawindexpro database. They are now being transferred to the swarb.co.uk website in a better form. As a case is published there, an entry here will link to it. The swarb.co.uk site includes many later cases.  















Employment - From: 1930 To: 1959

This page lists 46 cases, and was prepared on 17 July 2015.


 
 Young -v- Canadian Northern Railway Company; PC 25-Nov-1930 - [1931] AC 83; [1930] UKPC 94
 
Sagar -v- Ridehalgh [1931] Ch 310
1931


Employment
A contractually agreed reduction for poor workmanship is not to be treated as an unlawful deduction from wages.
1 Citers



 
 Reid & Sigrist Ltd -v- Moss and Mechanism Ltd; 1932 - (1932) 49 RPC 461
 
Withers -v- General Theatre Corporation Ltd [1933] 2 KB 536
1933
CA
Scrutton LJ, Greer LJ, and Romer LJ
Employment, Damages
An artist was engaged to appear at the London Palladium. The defendant, in breach of contract, refused to allow him to perform. Held: the plaintiff was entitled to damages for the loss of reputation which he would have acquired if the defendant had not committed the breach of contract. But the Court held that the plaintiff was not entitled as a matter of law to damages to his existing reputation.
1 Citers



 
 Barras -v- Aberdeen Steam Trawling and Fishing Co; HL 17-Mar-1933 - [1933] UKHL 3; (1933) 45 Ll L Rep 199; [1933] All ER Rep 52; 1933 SC (HL) 21; [1933] AC 402; 1933 SLT 338
 
Wessex Dairies Limited -v- Smith [1935] 2 KB 80; [1935] All ER 7
1935
CA
Maugham LJ, Greer LJ
Employment
A milk roundsman employed by a dairy who canvassed the dairy’s customers while in the employ of the dairy but to take effect after his employment had terminated. Held. The question to be determined depended upon the term to be implied in the ordinary case of a contract of employment in the absence of express agreement, and held that it "is a necessary implication which must be engrafted on such a contract that the servant undertakes to serve his master with good faith and fidelity". Except in special circumstances, there is no general restriction on an ex-employee canvassing or doing business with customers of his former employer, and ‘the servant may, while in the employment of the master, be as agreeable, attentive and skilful as it is in his power to be to others with the ultimate view of obtaining the benefit of the customers’ friendly feelings when he calls upon them if and when he sets up business for himself’.
1 Citers



 
 Ebbw Vale Steel Co -v- Tew; CA 1935 - [1935] 79 SJ 593
 
Marriott -v- Minister of Health [1936] LJKB 105
1936


Natural Justice, Employment

1 Citers



 
 Warner Brothers Pictures -v- Nelson; 1936 - [1937] 1 KB 209; [1936] 3 All ER 160; 106 LJKB 97
 
Marriott -v- Minister of Health [1937] 1 KB 128
1937
CA

Natural Justice, Employment
Affirmed
1 Cites

1 Citers


 
Re William Porter & Co Ltd [1937] 2 All ER 361
1937

Simonds J
Employment, Company

1 Cites

1 Citers



 
 Wilsons and Clyde Coal Co Ltd -v- English; HL 1938 - [1938] AC 57; [1937] UKHL 2
 
British Industrial Plastics Ltd -v- Ferguson [1938] 4 All ER 504
1938
CA
McKinnon LJ
Employment
The defendant received information about a patentable invention from the plaintiff's former employee. He said that his (mistaken) view was that since the employee had himself made the invention, it was patentable by him, and not covered by the employee's contractual obligation of confifence to his employer. Held: McKinnon LJ said that in accepting this evidence the judge had "vindicated [his] honesty…at the expense of his intelligence" but that in the circumstances, he could not be liable for inducing the employee's breach of contract.
1 Citers



 
 British Industrial Plastics Ltd -v- Ferguson; HL 1939 - [1940] 1 All ER 479
 
Marrison -v- Bell [1939] 1 ALL ER 745
1939
CA
Scott LJ
Employment
Scott LJ referred to the authorities on implying terms as to payment of sick pay into employment contracts: "Those cases say in my opinion quite clearly that under a contract of service irrespective of the question of length of notice provided by that contract, wages continue through sickness and incapacity from sickness to do the work contracted for until the contract is terminated by a notice by the employer in accordance with the terms of the contract."
1 Citers


 
Collier -v- Sunday Referee Publishing Co [1940] KB 647
1940

Asquith J
Employment
The plaintiff was a chief sub-editor with the defendant. He sought the right to work and be paid for working. Held: The employee had the right to work. Asquith J discussed a former employee's right to earn a living: "It is true that a contract of employment does not necessarily, or perhaps normally, oblige the master to provide the servant with work. Provided I pay my cook her wages regularly she cannot complain if I choose to take any or all of my meals out. In some exceptional cases there is an obligation to provide work. For instance, where the servant is remunerated by commission, or where (as in the case of an actor or singer) the servant bargains, among other things, for publicity, and the master, by withholding work, also withholds the stipulated publicity: see, for instance, Marbe v. George Edwardes (Daly's Theatre), Ld.; but such cases are anomalous, and the normal rule is illustrated by authorities such as Lagerwall v. Wilkinson, Henderson & Clarke, Ld. (2) and Turner v. Sawdon & Co., where the plaintiffs (a commercial traveller and a salesman respectively, retained for a fixed period and remunerated by salary) were held to have no legal complaint so long as the salary continued to be paid, notwithstanding that owing to their employers' action they were left with nothing to do."
1 Citers


 
O'Grady -v- M Saper Ltd [1940] 2 KB 469
1940
CA
MacKinnon LJ
Employment
Wages are payable only as consideration for work done and if no work is done no wages are payable, though this depends entirely upon the terms of the contract. MacKinnon LJ said: "It was rightly said . . by Atkinson J. (Petrie v. Mac Fisheries Ltd. (1940) 1 K.B. 258, at p.269), 'The question must depend, as is indicated in the notes to Cutter v. Powell (1795) 6 T.R. 320 [101 E.R. 573] (Smith's Leading Cases, 13th ed. (1929), vol. 11, p.49), on the terms of the contract. "The right to wages depends upon whether the consideration therefor has been performed." It is submitted in the notes to that case, as I think rightly, that it must be ascertained from the contract whether the consideration for the payment of wages is the actual performance of the work, or whether the mere readiness and willingness, if of ability to do so, is the consideration.'"
1 Citers


 
Newell -v- Gillingham Corporation [1941] 1 All ER 552
1941


Employment
A contract of apprenticeship is, in law, less readily terminable by the employer than an ordinary contract of employment.
1 Citers


 
Chadwick -v- Pioneer Private Telephone Co Ltd [1941] 1 All ER 522
1941

Stable J
Employment
Stable J said: "A contract of service implies an obligation to serve, and it comprises some degree of control by the master."
1 Citers


 
Anderson -v- James Sutherland (Peterhead) Ltd [1941] SC 203
1941

Lord Carmont
Scotland, Employment
The court discussed the authorities on the question of whether a managing director of a company was an employee or contractor. 'Each of the decisions was given in cases where the context played a vital part in the conclusions arrived at.’
1 Citers



 
 McMillan -v- Guest; HL 1942 - [1942] AC 561

 
 Steele -v- Robert George and Co Ltd; HL 1942 - [1942] AC 497; [1942] 1 All ER 447
 
Miller -v- Karlinski (1945) 62 TLR 85
1945
CA

Employment
It was too plain for argument that a contract of employment under which the employee was paid a salary and also "expenses" that included the income tax payable on the salary was against public policy and therefore unenforceable.
1 Citers



 
 Bents Brewery & Co Ltd -v- Hogan; 1945 - [1945] 2 All ER 570

 
 Trussed Steel Concrete Ltd -v- Green; 1946 - [1946] 1 Ch 115

 
 Nokes -v- Doncaster Amalgamated Collieries Ltd; HL 1948 - [1940] AC 1014

 
 Humberstone -v- Northern Timber Mills; 1949 - (1949) 79 CLR 389
 
Wrottesley -v- Regent Street Florida Restaurant [1951] 2 KB 277
1951
QBD
Lord Goddard CJ
Employment
Waiters at an unlicensed restaurant (with their employer's agreement) put all tips into a box whose key was held by the head waiter. At the end of each week the contents were distributed between the waiters in accordance with their agreed entitlements. The weekly wage paid to each waiter by the employer fell below the minimum prescribed by the 1949 Regulations, but if each waiter's share of the boxed gratuities were added to the wage so paid, the total exceeded the prescribed minimum. The restaurant proprietors were prosecuted for failing to pay the minimum wage. Their obligation, under section 9(2) of the Order, was to 'pay' to the employee the statutory minimum remuneration. The magistrate dismissed the informations and the prosecutor appealed by way of case stated. Held. The reasoning was that the locked box – or tronc – contained money that the customers had given to the waiters, not to the employer. It thus became the waiters' property, and not the employer's, and so when it was shared out the waiters were dividing up their own money. It followed that it could not be taken into account in computing the amounts that the employer paid them by way of remuneration. It was not paid by their employers. Lord Goddard said: 'The amount of a man's earnings in an employment and the amount of remuneration which his employer pays to him are not necessarily the same thing.'
Wages Regulations (Unlicensed Place of Refreshment) Order 1949
1 Citers



 
 Napier -v- National Business Agency Ltd; CA 1951 - [1951] 2 All ER 264
 
Stephenson Jordan and Harrison Limited -v- Macdonald and Evans [1952] 1 TLR 101; [1952] RCOC 10
3 Dec 1951
CA
Sir Raymoind Evershed MR, Denning and Morris LJJ
Intellectual Property, Employment
An accountant engineer employed by the plaintiffs assigned to the defendants the copyright in a work derived from public lectures he had given. The plaintiffs obtained an injunction saying that the work contained confidential material and that having been prepared in the course of his employment, the copyright belonged to them. The publishers appealed. Held: The defendant's appeal succeeded in part. The claim of breach of confidence was not supported by the evidence and failed. The bulk of the work was derived from public lectures given outside the scope of the author's employment as an accountant, and he owned and could assign the copyrights. In particular it seemed that some was written after the termination of the employment. Certain parts of it however were created as part of his employment and were not his to assign. There was a mixed contract with certain parts created under a contract of employment, and certain under a contract for services.
Copyright Act 1911 5(1)(b)


 
 Stevenson -v- MacDonald; 1952 - (1952) 1 TLR 101

 
 Re Charles Selz's Application; 1953 - (1953) 71 RPC 158

 
 McDonald -v- John Twiname Ltd; 1953 - [1953] 2 QB 304

 
 Terrell -v- Secretary of State for the Colonies; 1953 - [1953] 2 QB 482; [1953] 2 All ER 490; [1953] 3 WLR 331
 
Dale -v- Inland Revenue Commissioners [1954] AC 11
1954
HL
Lord Normand
Employment
A trustee held an office, a term which could describe "any position in which services are due by the holder and in which the holder has no employer."
1 Citers


 
Zuijs -v- Wirth Brothers Proprietary Ltd [1955] 93 CLR 561
1955


Employment
The court considered the extent of authority to be established to show the relationship of employer and employee: "What matters is lawful authority to command so far as there is scope for it. And there must always be some room for it, if only in incidental or collateral matters."
1 Citers


 
Patchett -v- Stirling Engineering Co Ltd (1955) 72 RPC 50
1955

Viscount Simonds
Employment, Intellectual Property
The court considered the position at common law of an employee claiming to patent his invention: "It is elementary that, where the employee in the course of his employment (ie in his employer's time and with his materials) makes an invention which falls within his duty to make (as was the case here) he holds his interest in the invention, and in any resulting patent, as trustee for the employer unless he can show that he has a beneficial interest which the law recognises." The source of an employee's duty is primarily contractual, though some of the terms are implied by law.
1 Citers



 
 Attorney-General for New South Wales -v- Perpetual Trustee Co Ltd; PC 1955 - [1955] AC 457; [1955] 1 All ER 846; [1955] 2 WLR 707
 
M and S Drapers (a Firm) -v- Reynolds [1956] 3 All ER 814; [1957] 1 WLR 9
1956
CA
Morris LJ
Employment
The defendant, a collector salesman entered the employment of a firm of credit drapers at a weekly wage of £10. He brought with him the connection of customers acquired in previous employments. He entered into a restrictive covenant that he would not for a period of 5 years, following the termination of his service, canvass or solicit orders in the way of the business of a credit draper from anyone who had during the three years immediately preceding such termination, been a customer upon whom he, the servant, had called in the course of his duties for the firm. Held. The covenant was unreasonably restrictive having regard to the firm's business and the salesman's employment, to the duration of the restriction and to the circumstances that a large proportion of the customers covered by the covenant were persons who had formed the salesman's connection before he entered the firm's employment.
Morris LJ said: "I do not consider that restriction would necessarily be held to bunreasonable merely because it could be shown possibly to extend to one or two cases beyond the range of contemplated protection."
1 Cites

1 Citers



 
 Vine -v- National Dock Labour Board; CA 1956 - [1956] 1 All ER 1

 
 Huntley -v- Thornton; 1957 - [1957] 1 WLR 321; [1957] 1 All ER 234

 
 Vandervall Products Ltd -v- M'Leod; CA 1957 - [1957] RPC 185

 
 National Coal Board -v- Galley; CA 1958 - [1958] 1 WLR 16; [1958] 1 All ER 91
 
Scala Ballroom (Wolverhampton) Ltd -v- Ratcliffe [1958] EWCA Civ 4; [1958] 1 WLR 1057; [1958] 3 All ER 220
30 Jul 1958
CA

Employment

[ Bailii ]
 
Laws -v- London Chronicle (Indicator Newspapers) Ltd [1959] 1 WLR 698
1959
CA
Lord Evershed MR
Employment
Lord Evershed MR discussed the justification for summary dismissal: 'It follows that the question must be - if summary dismissal is claimed to be justified - whether the conduct complained of is such as to show the servant to have disregarded the essential conditions of the contract of service.'
1 Citers


 
Kores Manufacturing Co Ltd -v- Kolok Manufacturing Ltd [1959] Ch 109
1959
CA
Jenkins LJ
Employment
When considering a post employment restrictive covenant on an employee, the court should allow that an employer has a legitimate interest in maintaining a stable and trained workforce. However, even accepting that interest, an employer has no legitimate interest to prevent an employee, upon termination from taking employment with a competitor.
Jenkins LJ said: "Apart from the question of trade secrets and confidential information, we have described the matter requiring protection as being the adequacy and stability of the plaintiffs’ and defendants’ respective complements of employees. That, no doubt, is an interest which employers are entitled to protect by all legitimate means, as by paying good wages and making their employment attractive. We have further described the danger against which that interest required protection as being the unimpeded secession of employees of either of the parties to that of the other of them under the inducement of higher wages or better working conditions. But an employer has no legitimate interest in preventing an employee, after leaving his service, from entering the service of a competitor merely on the ground that the new employer is a competitor. The danger of the adequacy and stability of his complement of employees being impaired through employees leaving his service and entering that of a rival is not a danger against which he is entitled to protect himself by exacting from his employees covenants that they will not, after leaving his service, enter the service of any competing concern. If in the present case the plaintiffs had taken a covenant from each of their employees that he would not enter the service of the defendants at any time during the five years next following the termination of his service with the plaintiffs, and the defendants had taken from their employees covenants restraining them in similar terms from entering the employment of the plaintiffs, we should have thought that (save possibly in very exceptional cases involving trade secrets, confidential information and the like) all such covenants would on the face of them be bad as involving a restraint of trade which was unreasonable as between the parties. Here the plaintiffs and the defendants have, as it seems to us, sought to do indirectly that which they could not do directly, by reciprocal undertakings between themselves not to employ each other’s former employees, entered into over the heads of their respective employees, and without their knowledge. It seems to us to be open to question whether an agreement such as that, directed to preventing employees of the parties from doing that which they could not by individual covenants with their respective employers validly bind themselves not to do, should be accorded any greater validity than individual covenants by the employees themselves would possess."
1 Citers


 
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