Ikejiuba v WM Morrisons Supermarkets Plc – Unfair Dismissal: Sunday Working 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that an employee whose job offer was retracted when they refused to work Sunday hours was not automatically unfairly dismissed.

Although the tribunal upheld his claim for breach of contract, they dismissed his claim of automatic unfair dismissal.

In forming their decision, the tribunal considered the evidence presented to them. They found that, by signing and returning the contractual documents upon receiving his original job offer, the claimant had agreed to work a varied shift pattern which did include Sundays. When he had later tried to vary his hours, the organisation had considered his request and attempted to accommodate it, despite being over budget and still in need of finding an additional Sunday worker.

The tribunal held that the claimant’s retracted job offer had not come about because he had tried to opt out of Sunday working; it had come about because he had refused the alternative hours he had been offered.

Note for employers:

In the absence of any contractual term requiring the employer to offer work on alternative days, an organisation is under no obligation to provide an opted-out employee with work on alternative days. Whilst organisations cannot dismiss shop workers for opting out of working on a Sunday, there may be grounds for dismissal if the employee is unwilling to accept that working one less day may result in less pay. However, organisations should remember that shop workers who do opt-out are protected from being subjected to any form of detriment, alongside unfair dismissal, and should always approach these situations carefully.

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