Employees Working Abroad

Employment Law – Employees Working Abroad – Claim Brought In UK


In the recent case of Duncombe & Others v The Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families (Formerly the Department for Education and Skills) UKEAT/0433/07 [2007], the Employment Appeals Tribunal (“EAT”) elected to allow an appeal by a number of former employees. The employees in this case were employed to work abroad under their respective fixed-term contracts. They were employed under these contracts by an emanation of the state.

The case was brought before the EAT to determine whether the Employment Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the employees’ claims.

The EAT held in this case that the employment tribunal did have jurisdiction to hear their claims for breach of contract and for pay in lieu of notice. However, it was noted that such claims were dependent on the application of Regulation 8 of the Fixed-term Employees (Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 (“the Regulations”).

Regulation 8 states that the claimants in such a case had to be permanent employees as declared by an employment tribunal. The EAT was of the opinion that the territorial scope of the Regulations also extended to the claimants, even though they worked solely abroad, but only due to the fact that the EAT felt compelled to follow the decision of the EAT President in Bleuse v MBT Transport Ltd UKEAT/0339/07.

In the Bleuse case, it was decided that the test for jurisdiction set out by the House of Lords in Lawson v Serco [2006], should be modified so as to ensure that any directly effective rights which can be relied on by such employees can be enforced by the English courts. This now means that fixed-term employees working outside the UK can claim for breach of contract in similar circumstances.

If you require further information please contact us at enquiries@rtcoopers.com or Visit http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_employment.php

© RT COOPERS, 2008. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.


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