Prisoner wins £32,000 for breach of contract

30 July 2014

The employee was due to be made redundant by his employer but had agreed with the company that he could take a period of leave which would cover him until his contract was due to end. During this period of leave he was convicted of a number of offences and imprisoned, but he did not inform his employer of this.

His employer learnt about his conviction and terminated the contract of employment without paying the contractual and statutory payments they had arranged to pay.

The employee subsequently issued an Employment Tribunal claim for breach of contract, failure to pay statutory redundancy pay and for unpaid holiday pay.

The matter came to a full Employment Tribunal hearing at which the tribunal heard that the employer had decided, even Prisoner wins £32,000 for breach of contract though the employee was on a period of agreed leave, to terminate his contract of employment as they believed it had been “frustrated” by the imprisonment. Finding in favour of the employee, the Judge stated:

“In this case it is said on the behalf of the claimant that the contract is not frustrated by his imprisonment because there was no requirement for the claimant to be at work. He was on leave. Whether the claimant was in Bullingdon (Prison) or in Benidorm, it made no difference to the contract of employment.

“My conclusion is that the contract was not frustrated. Imprisonment does not automatically end the employment. In this case the claimant was not expected to enter work, whether in prison or out, before the contract of employment expired.”

As a result, the employee was awarded £5,850 statutory redundancy pay, £24,953 for breach of contract and £1,731 outstanding holiday payacy.

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