Employment Lawyers: Unfair Dismissal of a Teacher and Continuance of Employment

In the recent case of Hussain v Acorn Independent College Limited, the teacher in question Mr Hussain had a temporary contract that was due to terminate on 8th July.
The teacher for whom he was covering for, resigned on that same day, and it was agreed that Mr Hussain would be kept on under a permanent contract from 5th September.

However, the College terminated Mr Hussain’s contract on 12th June, nearly a month early, which lead Mr Hussain to a claim against it for unfair dismissal. The College fought back by insisting Mr Hussain had not worked continuously for a year. This claim was made on the basis that there was a period between the two contracts where Mr Hussain did not work.

The college claimed this ‘cessation of work’ counted when adding up the total period of Mr Hussain’s employment, a provision which was clearly in accordance with Section 212 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The Employment Judge hearing the case, agreed with the College and reached the verdict that Mr Hussain did not have a years continuous service given that he was dismissed on 12th June and started his first contract on the 26th April the previous year.
Mr Hussain appealed this decision, bringing it before the Employment Appeals Tribunal where the judges disagreed with the decision of the Employment Tribunal Judge.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that the seven weeks of temporary cessation between Mr Hussain’s two contracts had to be considered in light of the reason for this cessation of employment, which in this case was the school summer holidays. Accordingly, Mr Hussain had worked for a full year and could action a claim surrounding his unfair dismissal.