Failure to consult resulted in breach of contract

A maintenance worker who, alongside his family, was made homeless when his employer took away his onsite accommodation was unfairly constructively dismissed and was a victim of breach of contract, a tribunal has ruled. The maintenance supervisor for a caravan holiday park was given two weeks’ notice without any consultation from his employer to vacate himself and his family from the onsite premises, which had been his family home for eight years.

The accommodation became unavailable when the local council refused the company’s planning permission request for staff to occupy seven of its units during the premises’ closed period from November to March each year. The council permitted only two caravans to be occupied by staff during the closed season.

After receiving the council’s decision, the regional manager agreed with the site’s general manager that the only two members of staff permitted to remain on the site during closed season were the park warden and the retail manager. There was no consultation with affected employees before the decisions were made, no written notification of the proposals and the local authority’s report was not provided to staff.

The judge ruled that the holiday company breached the implied term of trust and confidence by its conduct as a lack of consultation on the accommodation was a “serious breach of contract”. The employee was awarded £11,902.87 for damages of breach of contract, compensation for unfair dismissal and loss of earnings.

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