The following cases have just been placed on the EAT website.
Frewin v Consignia plc (HHJ Reid QC, 18/7/03)
In this case, the EAT clarifies the tension between London Fire & Civil Defence Authority v Betty (1994) and Edwards v Governers of Hanson School (2001).
In Betty, the EAT held that when considering capability dismissals, it was irrelevant to the question of fairness whether the employer caused the illness in the first place.
In Edwards, another division of the EAT held that Betty was probably wrongly decided, and that it was certainly relevant to compensation - and probably relevant to liability - if the employer was the cause of the employee's absence.
The EAT has now stated that Betty should be confined to its facts, and that when considering the fairness of a dismissal, a tribunal is entitled to take into account the fact that the incapacity was caused by the employer.
Thorpe v Dul, Brooksby Melton College & Learning and Skills Council (Wall J., 1/7/03)
A modern apprenticeship is not a contract of apprenticeship within the Employment Rights Act 1996. Therefore modern apprentices do not automatically fall within the definition of 'employee' and do not have the right to claim unfair dismissal and other statutory remedies.
However, on the facts of any given case, a traditional contract of employment might arise in addition to the modern apprenticeship arrangement. This is a question of fact which must be investigated by tribunals.