John worked for British Airways as a licensed aircraft engineer for more than 27 years and had an exemplary career with them. But he was dismissed after an error on a maintenance task, on a day when they were very short staffed. BA had recorded the error as having little or no airworthiness risk.
With Prospect’s support, John appealed against the dismissal and the sanction was changed to a three grade demotion. John would have lost his status as a licensed engineer and had a significant drop in pay. He resigned from BA and Prospect presented a claim for unfair constructive dismissal.
In March the Glasgow employment tribunal found demotion was such an extreme and disproportionate sanction in the circumstances that it amounted to constructive dismissal. John was awarded compensation. But BA appealed against the judgment on five separate grounds of appeal.
The appeal was heard by the EAT in Edinburgh on 11 December. Lance Harris of Old Square Chambers represented John.
The Honourable Lady Stacey, who heard the appeal, rejected all grounds put forward by BA. She held there was no error of law by the tribunal and dismissed the appeal.
Marion Scovell, head of Prospect Legal, said: “I am delighted we successfully defended this appeal. The tribunal found that the decision to demote in these circumstances amounted to an unfair dismissal and this has now been confirmed by the EAT”.
John Higgins said he was relieved that the appeal was over and he was grateful to the union for supporting him at each stage of his case. “I could not have done this without Prospect and I am extremely grateful to everyone involved, including the branch reps, full time officer and the legal team, for a successful outcome”, said John.