Gibbs v Leeds United Football Club [2016] EWHC 960 (QB)

LUFC’s manager left and the claimant, as Assistant Manager was asked if he was interested in becoming head coach but the claimant declined.  He was happy to continue in his current post under a new manager.  After being excluded from various activities, LUFC advised the claimant that he was expected to work with the Youth Acadamy which was a distinct change from his contractual duties.  He resigned as a result of this demotion and change of duties and claimed he had been constructively dismissed.

LUFC suggested that as they were in negotiations the claimant was prepared to leave his employment and there was no breach of contract.  The High Court disagreed and said that LUFC was in breach as they had amended his contractual duties.  An award of £331K adjustable by bonus was ordered.

The lesson here is – where there is ambiguity about a person’s role in your organisation, whether you are in exit negotiations or not - do not change the contractual agreement or expect the employee to do different work other than his contractual work - it can become costly!