The Court of Appeal has used the Summer to set out two useful reminders for HR professionals:

No work, no pay

Sunrise Brokers LLP v Rodgers

If an employee refuses to work, the employer need not pay them. It is a common misconception that whatever the circumstances, should an employer refuse to pay a member of staff this will be a fundamental breach of contract. In most situations that will be true, but not where the employee is deliberately refusing to work. This was the case in Sunrise Brokers LLP v Michael Rodgers [2014] EWHC 2633 where the employee refused to work his contractual notice and wanted to join a competitor. The employer did not agree to this breach of contract by the employee so as to release him from employment but instead simply stopped paying him. The Court of Appeal held that this was not a fundamental breach by the employer. It stated that the employee was still in his notice period and remained in employment. Perhaps the situation was best summed up some years ago by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Luke v Stoke on Trent City Council [2007] EWCA 761 as being one of 'no work, no pay'.

An appeal cannot increase the sanction

McMillan v Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

Unless a disciplinary appeal procedure specifically allows the employer to increase the sanction, such a right will not be implied. The reasoning is based on the fact that a disciplinary procedure should give the right of appeal against a warning or dismissal. If instead the appeal process gives a warning, or even a dismissal, that was not previously set out in the initial disciplinary hearing, then the employee will have no ability to appeal against that new sanction. Further, the ACAS Guide states that an appeal 'should not result in any increase in penalty as this may deter individuals from appealing'. Perhaps most tellingly, the Court of Appeal states that an appeal process should benefit the employee, not the employer (McMillan v Airedale NHS Foundation Trust [2014] EWCA 1031)