October's top five employment law cases

People Management runs down the most read tribunals of the last month – from TUPE trouble to festive fights 

1. Recruiter liable for Christmas party fight that left employee brain damaged

Overturning a previous decision by the high court, the Court of Appeal ruled that businesses can be held vicariously liable in some circumstances for the actions of their employees even if they take place outside the workplace – in this case, that a recruitment company was liable for the actions of its managing director, who punched an employee at a party outside office hours and left him brain damaged. 

2. Royal Marines reservist fired after requesting seven weeks off for training loses appeal

The EAT upheld a previous tribunal decision from July 2017 that a Royal Marines reservist who was fired by his employer for taking seven weeks of leave to attend a voluntary training exercise was not unfairly dismissed. The company was obliged to accept requests for time off for active service, but the employee had failed to clarify that the training exercise was not compulsory.

3. Banker whose job was ‘eroded’ while on maternity leave wins tribunal

London Central Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of a senior banker who claimed her job has been "marginalised" while she was on maternity leave. Jagruti Rajput was “strongly discouraged” from attending a quarterly meeting while on maternity leave, and received no formal handover when she returned to work.

4. Depressed academic who was ‘sent to Coventry’ wins appeal

The EAT overturned a tribunal decision after finding the original tribunal “erred in its approach” towards Professor Roya Sheikholeslami’s claim that her former employer – the University of Edinburgh's school of engineering – discriminated against her because of her work-related stress and depression, and failed to make reasonable adjustments. While legal proceedings were ongoing, Sheikholeslami’s colleagues had been instructed not to contact her except through her solicitors as she was "in dispute" with the organisation, effectively meaning she was ostracised.

5. Cashier sacked before TUPE transfer was unfairly dismissed, rules EAT

A shop cashier who was dismissed two days before a TUPE transfer to another organisation had her unfair dismissal claim upheld at the EAT after her employer appealed the original ruling.