Skip to content

April’s Employment Law Digest – Case Law Update

Stay up to date with recent employment case law developments as Gillian Chinhengo explores the significant decisions that are shaping the legal landscape of workplace rights and responsibilities.

Record-breaking pay out in Wright-Turner v Hammersmith and Fulham

Ms Wright-Turner was awarded almost £4.6m in damages after suing her employer for disability discrimination. This is said to be the highest figure for a judgment by an ET in a public sector case.


Ms Wright-Turner was the Director of Public Service Reform at Hammersmith and Fulham. She suffered from PTSD as a consequence of her work for a previous London Council, involved in the response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. She also had ADHD. After an incident with colleagues at a local pub, where she was left incoherent, was hyperventilating and refused to leave a toilet cubicle, colleagues were concerned for her welfare and decided to take her to A&E, where she was assessed as being depressed, suicidal and traumatised, but not intoxicated following this pub trip (it was later said by Council officers she was drunk and this was found untrue).

She was later dismissed in August 2018 in a letter which said she could not complete her probation.

Back in 2021, the Tribunal concluded that the Council’s discrimination on the basis of her PTSD was the reason for her dismissal and decided in favour of her disability discrimination claim. They also found that the Council’s officers had misled and given untrue evidence to the Tribunal — the Council’s top officers including the Chief Executive, Interim Head of Corporate Services, its Strategic Director of Governance and the Council’s Borough Solicitor and Monitoring Officer, were all involved in a deliberate deception.

The effects of her dismissal had been extremely severe and Wright-Turner said her health had deteriorated so badly that she would never work again. Her marriage ended, house repossession proceedings had been issued as she had no income.


Exemplary damages were also awarded against the Council as punishment, likely to do with the conduct mentioned above which is how the damages were brought up even further. This was the first example of the use of exemplary damages by any ET in over a decade.

Stay up to date with:

  • Trending Topics
  • Latest Insights
  • Upcoming Events
  • Company Updates

TUPE- changes in working conditions

Lewis v Dow Silicones UK Ltd

When the company Mr Lewis was working for (Npower) was bought by Dow Silicones UK, he faced new working conditions and he argued that they considerably worsened his working situation. He then resigned and claimed constructive unfair dismissal. The case centred on whether the changes were substantially detrimental and if such changes were primarily due to the business transfer.

Mr Lewis won his second appeal against Dow Silicones UK where the EAT confirmed his dismissal was automatically unfair due to the transfer.

This case serves as a reassertion of the law’s role in safeguarding employee rights during company restructuring and transfers.

Gender-critical teacher loses discrimination case


Mr Lister was a teacher at New College Swindon. He was dismissed for gross misconduct as a result of refusing to refer to a transgender student by their preferred male name and pronouns.

The Student had requested Lister to refer to them by a different name. Lister felt unable to do so, and instead began gesturing and pointing at the student instead of using their requested name or pronoun. Mr Lister raised a safeguarding concern via the college’s online portal in which he asked whether A’s parents consented to this and also if A had received “requisite counselling to allow [them] to make a decision of this magnitude”

Later, the school received a complaint by another student. A disciplinary process was initiated, which resulted in Mr Lister ‘s dismissal.

He brought a claim for unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.


The ET dismissed the claim and held:

  • The dismissal did not amount to an act of discrimination.
  • The school’s decision to dismiss him was a proportionate response to the way in which he had expressed his beliefs and given his indication that his behaviour would not have changed going forward.

What do you need to know

The matters in these cases although very serious could have been avoided with effective and regular training to ensure employers and employees know what is and isn’t acceptable in the modern workplace. To speak to one of our team about training packages please do fill in your details below and we will get in touch.

Get in touch

    Your personal information will be processed in accordance with our Privacy Policy

    Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

    This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

    Continue reading for free

    This article is from our dedicated employment hub HR Protect. Please visit the hub to view the full article, completely for free.

    Take me there

    Follow us on LinkedIn

    Keep up to date with all the latest updates and insights from our expert team

    Take me there

    What we're thinking