Rigby v Ferodo Ltd: HL 1988

The House considered a claim for constructive dismissal where the employer had changed the terms of the employment contract by unilaterally imposing a pay cut.
Held: It was possible for an employee to continue to work under protest as to the changes without being deemed to have accepted a unilateral alteration in the terms of his contract.
Lord Oliver said: ‘It has been submitted that there was some sort of implied acceptance on the part of Mr Rigby of the appellant’s repudiation by working on. At the trial this was put on the basis of estoppel, waiver and acquiescence. All three were rejected by the trial judge and, in my judgment, he was, on the facts which he found, quite plainly right to reject them. I can, for my part, see no other basis upon which it can be argued that the continued working by Mr Rigby and his acceptance for the time being and under protest of the wage that the appellant, with full knowledge of his lack of agreement, chose to pay him is to be construed as an acceptance by him either of the repudiation by the appellant of the original continuing contract or of the new terms which the appellant was seeking to impose.’
and ‘For my part I see no reason in law or logic why, leaving aside for the moment the extreme case of outright dismissal or walk- out, a contract of employment should be on any different footing from any other contract as regards the principle that ‘an unaccepted repudiation is a thing writ in water and of no value to anybody’; per Asquith LJ in Howard v Pickford Truck Co.’
Lord Oliver
[1988] ICR 29
England and Wales
CitedHoward v Pickford Truck Co Ltd CA 1951
Asquith LJ said: ‘an unaccepted repudiation is a thing writ in water and of no value to anybody.’ . .
CitedGunton v Richmond-upon-Thames London Borough Council CA 1980
The plaintiff college registrar had been the subject of disciplinary proceedings, but the defendant had not followed the contractual procedure. The judge had ordered an inquiry as to damages on the basis that the Plaintiff was entitled to remain in . .

Cited by:
AppliedAlcan Extrusions v Yates and others EAT 5-Feb-1996
The employers appealed against a decision that it had constructively dismissed the respondents by substantially changing their employment terms.
Held: The tribunal approved the chairman’s statement that ‘the applicants’ former contracts of . .
CitedWoodhall v Greggs Plc (T/A the Bakers Oven) EAT 1-Oct-1998
. .
CitedGAP Personnel Franchises Ltd v Robinson EAT 16-Oct-2007
EAT Contract of employment – Damages for breach of contract
Unlawful deduction from wages
Whether express term of contract as to mileage expenses was consensually varied by the Claimant’s . .
CitedKhatri v Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank Ba CA 23-Apr-2010
The claimant appealed against refusal of summary judgment on his claim for payment of a discretionary employment bonus by the defendant.
Held: The appeal succeeded and summary judgment was given. The contract properly construed did give rise . .
CitedBruce and Others v Wiggins Teape (Stationery) Ltd EAT 13-May-1994
Employees appealed against decisions that their employer had not made unlawful deductions from their wages. The company had unilaterally reduced the rate of overtime pay.
Held: The appeal was allowed.
Mummery J P said: ‘the reason why the . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Updated: 27 October 2021; Ref: scu.268686