Willow Oak Developments Ltd. (T/A Windsor Recruitment) v Silverwood and others: CA 25 May 2006

The employer appealed a finding that he had been unreasonable in seeking to vary the employment contracts of his staff by adding post employment restrictive covenants, and that the consequent dismissals were unfair. Copies of the new contracts had been handed to employees without prior notice and with an instruction to sign the within thirty minutes. After an extension, management retained an aggressive attitude, and did not make it clear that dismissal would follow if the new terms were not agreed.
Held: The procedure adopted was procedurally unfair. The general approach and the failure to mention that dismissal would follow made it necessarily so.

Buxton LJ, Neuberger LJ, Sir Martin Nourse
[2006] EWCA Civ 660, Gazette 08-Jun-2006, [2006] ICR 1552, [2006] IRLR 607
Employment Rights Act 1996 98(1)
England and Wales
CitedScott and Co v Richardson EAT 26-Apr-2005
The Tribunal erred in its approach to substantial other reason (contrary to Hollister, Banerjee, Harper and Gilham) by expressing its own view as to the commercial decision leading . .
CitedForshaw v Archcraft Ltd EAT 13-Dec-2004
Dismissal for ‘some other substantial reason’ – employees refusal to sign new contracts. . .
CitedHarper v National Coal Board 1980
If a reason for dismissal is whimsical or capricious, it will be excluded from consideration as a reason supporting a dismissal. . .
Appeal fromWillow Oak Developments Ltd T/A Windsor Recruitment v Silverwood and others EAT 5-Oct-2005
EAT Where employees are dismissed for refusal to sign a new contract containing proposed covenants in restraint of trade, the test is no different from that in respect of dismissal for refusing to sign a fresh . .
CitedCatamaran Cruisers Ltd v Williams and others EAT 13-Jan-1994
In a case of a refusal to accept a change in contractual terms case the tribunal has to weigh the business reasons for imposing the changes against the advantage and disadvantage of them for the employees. . .
CitedLittlewoods Organisations Ltd v Harris CA 1977
When construing restrictive covenants in an employment contract, the court should construe the contract in the light of the object and intent of the contract as a whole. It may be read down and need not be read literally. Lord Denning said that it . .
CitedO’Kelly v Trust House Forte 1984
Remission of a case to the industrial tribunal would be inappropriate only if it was clear what the result would be on such remission. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.


Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.242187