- The fact that an employee working overseas is on an employment contract governed by English law is a relevant factor in determining whether he can bring an unfair dismissal claim in England, even if it was simply a standard contract drafted for employees working in England and was used for the claimant simply for convenience. The tribunal's failure to take this into account in relation to an employee working in Saudi Arabia in Green v Sig Trading Limitedled to the EAT remitting the case for reconsideration. However, it ruled that the tribunal had been entitled to ignore the fact that the claimant's redundancy had been handled from the UK, given that this was simply a pragmatic arrangement in view of the lack of HR support overseas, and therefore said little about the connection between the claimant's employment and Great Britain. The case highlights the risks for UK businesses using standard contracts for overseas employees.
The EAT has confirmed that the obligation to consult about collective redundancies applies where the employees assigned to an establishment have a sufficiently strong connection to Great Britain and British employment law; it is not the connection of the establishment that is relevant. Employers proposing redundancies in an establishment should consider whether any overseas employees assigned to that establishment may be deemed to have sufficient connection to Great Britain that they should be counted towards the threshold for collective consultation obligations. In Seahorse Maritime Limited v Nautilus International (a trade union),UK-domiciled employees working on static ships treated as one establishment on contracts governed by English law had a sufficient connection with Great Britain, even though they were working overseas at the time of their redundancy.