London law firm Charles Gregory Solicitors has been ordered to pay an employee £32,000 after it transferred his employment to another business without due notice or consultation.
Eduardo Grazioli worked for regulated firm Rider Support Services from 2007 as a paralegal and later a personal injury solicitor. When the firm could no longer operate under its existing ownership, staff were required to move physical files to the Charles Gregory offices to allow for the transfer of the business.
However, the employment tribunal found that Rider Support Services’ approach to Grazioli’s handover, and alleged conduct issues, was confusing and troubling, and that he was not consulted in relation to his contract of employment. It also found that there was no evidence that Charles Gregory met Grazioli to investigate what the terms of contract with Rider Support Services were, or to discuss any changes.
Grazioli received an email advising him of the outcome of a disciplinary investigation on the same day that his employment was transferred, alleging that he had been absent without leave on two days, had refused to work in the office and was physically aggressive. He was suspended and only paid part of his salary for that month.
The original date for a subsequent disciplinary hearing was put back and then clashed with Grazioli’s pre-arranged annual leave. The firm said that failure to attend would lead to further disciplinary action, however his union representative called for the date to be rearranged.
During the tribunal, Grazioli explained that he was increasingly concerned that he was being pushed out of the firm without redundancy pay. The judge found this was a fundamental breach of his contract and the implied duty of trust and confidence, understanding his subsequent resignation to be in response to this.
Employment judge Beyzade Beyzade said: “The respondent had, by their earlier actions, fractured the employment relationship with the claimant and they had done nothing to try to repair it. The respondent simply wanted the claimant to put it all behind him and return to work immediately without understanding that the claimant had lost trust in his employer.”