Employment Tribunal remit around pay is clarified

In the case of Agarwal v Cardiff University and Anor, following a period of sickness absence, an employee returned to academic duties but was not permitted to return to clinical duties and was therefore paid half their normal salary.

The employee felt this was unfair and brought a claim to the Employment Tribunal arguing that the failure to pay her in respect of clinical duties amounted to an unauthorised deduction.

At first, an employment judge ruled that the tribunal had no jurisdiction to hear the claim since it raised issues of a contractual nature rather than an employment nature. The employee’s appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal was dismissed so she took the matter to the Court of Appeal.

Lord Justice Underhill allowed the claim and stated that employment tribunals are more than capable of interpreting the terms of contracts regarding pay and have to do so in many other contexts. Going forward claims relating to terms of pay in contracts will now be heard by the Employment Tribunal.

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