Former BT employee is entitled to sick pay

Case law-judge-2015

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld a case ruling concerning a BT Managed Services Limited (BTMS) employee who has been receiving income protection payments (GIPs) that ceased to be insured, and who is unlikely to ever return to work.

In the case of BT Managed Services Ltd v Edwards & Anor, it was found that Edwards was not assigned to an organised grouping when he transferred employment from Orange to BTMS, and then to Ericsson.

The claimant, Mr Edwards, was employed by BTMS as a Field Operations Engineer as part of the domestic network outsource (DNO) team. From April 1994, he was employed by Orange but his employment transferred to BT from July 2009.

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Each team he worked with had a separate and dedicated structure within BTMS, including its own budget and contract with Edwards.

In May 2006, Mr Edwards commenced long-term sick leave for illnesses that included a cardiac condition that prevented him from performing strenuous activities. Attempts were made to provide him with less strenuous work. However, these were unsuccessful, so he was regarded as permanently incapacitated from this time onwards.

Edwards last worked for BTMS in January 2008, but because he remained an employee of the organisation, he continued to receive GIPs. These were treated as an expense to the organisation after the insurer’s liability ended.

In December 2012, Edwards’ contract was transferred to Ericsson, and a service provision change took place in June 2013.

BT launched an appeal on the grounds that Edwards has not contributed to the organisation since May 2006, so he should not be entitled to GIPs from the organisation.

This appeal was dismissed by the EAT, which found that Edwards should not have been carried over with the other BT employees when he was moved onto a new contract, paticularly because it was unlikely he would ever work for the organisation again.

Jo Broadbent, professional support lawyer at law firm Hogan Lovells, said: “The aspect to consider is that Edwards was originally contracted to another provider (Ericsson), which brings up the question of whether he should have been carried over as an employee or, in effect, left behind. The EAT decided that Edwards should not have been carried over to the new contract as there was no prospect of him working for the organisaton again.”