September 30, 2016

Can an Expatriate Employee Bring a Claim in the U.K.?

In Jeffery v The British Council UKEAT/0036/16, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether an expatriate employee could bring claims under U.K. employment legislation.

Mr Jeffery was employed by a public body, the British Council (Council), to work as a teaching centre manager in Bangladesh. Following a dispute over the potential closure of his teaching centre, Mr Jeffery resigned and brought various claims against the Council in a U.K. Employment Tribunal. The first issue to be determined was whether the Employment Tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the claims.

The EAT held that the U.K. Employment Tribunal did have jurisdiction to hear the claims; Mr Jeffery had “established a closer connection with Great Britain and British employment law than any other system.” Important factors the EAT took into account included the fact that:

  • Mr Jeffery was a British citizen recruited in Great Britain to work for a British organization
  • His contract of employment was governed by English law
  • He was entitled to a U.K. government pension
  • His salary was subject to a notional deduction for U.K. income tax
  • His employer was a public body playing an important role for the U.K.

Whilst this case does not establish new law, it does provide a helpful illustration of factors an Employment Tribunal will consider when determining jurisdiction.

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