The Supreme Court has delivered a judgment which extends the right to raise unfair dismissal proceedings in the UK to overseas workers in particular circumstances.
In Ravat v. Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd the Claimant worked in Libya on a rotational basis, with 28 days worked away from the UK and 28 days spent on leave in the UK. His home was in the UK, he was paid and taxed in the UK, his contract was the subject of UK law and he was treated as a “commuter” by his employer. The Court held that these factors were sufficient to provide a closer connection to UK law than to any other jurisdiction.
The Court found that guidance from previous case law could be summarised in the question: “In cases where the employee's place of work is not Great Britain, the correct question to ask is whether the connection with Great Britain is sufficiently strong to enable it to be said that Parliament would have regarded it as appropriate for the tribunal to deal with the claim.”
Employers who have employees posted above should note that the Court looked at the entirety of the employment relationship to identify factors which would create a sufficiently strong connection with the UK. In this case, it was found that the Claimant did have the right to claim unfair dismissal in the UK.
It should be noted, however, that each case will turn on its particular facts. Of particular relevance in this case was the fact that Mr Ravat’s home was in the UK and he essentially “commuted” to Libya. It does not necessarily follow that every overseas employer with a connection to the UK will have the right to raise a claim here, and the prevailing rule is that the place of work is the most important factor in determining where an employee can enforce employment rights.