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Appeal ruling opens UK employment law to British expats

13 September 2016

British expats may be able to use UK employment law following a ruling by the EAT, with potential implications for HR departments.

British expatriates working for UK companies or organisations abroad could use UK employment laws to pursue claims against their employers following a ruling by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

The ruling could have far-reaching implications for HR departments at global companies assigning UK nationals to foreign postings, according to lawyers involved in the case.

In an article for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, solicitors at Penningtons Manches – a UK law firm headquartered in London – reveal that an expat’s strong connection to the UK can override the general rule that the place of work determines the employment law applying to expat workers.

The authors, Paul Mander, who heads the employment team at Penningtons Manches, and Martin Tynan, say that a recent case before the EAT raised the question of when a person living and working outside the UK may bring claims under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010.

The case involved David Jeffery, who worked for the British Council in Bangladesh as a teaching centre manager and who subsequently brought a claim in the UK for, among other things, unfair dismissal by the council.

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