When are Fixed-Term Employees treated less favourably?
In a recent case decided by the Employment Appeal Tribunal the question of less favourable treatment for fixed-term employees was discussed and decided.
The case in question involved Xerox UK Limited who were the employer. They provided income protection insurance to their employees under terms of insurance with Unum. The income protection was provided to permanent and fixed-term staff who were off work for 26 weeks’ due to injury.
In accordance with Unum’s policy terms fixed-term employees did not qualify for the income protection if their fixed-term contract expired before the end of the 26 week qualifying period.
The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 provide protection from less favourable treatment for fixed-term employees. This means that they have the the right not to be treated less favourably than a comparable permanent employee as regards the terms of their contract or by being subjected to any other detriment by any act, or deliberate failure to act, of their employer.
The employee in this case, Mr Hall worked for Xerox under several fixed-term contracts. He suffered a work-related hernia when he was approximately 3 months’ away from the expiry of the most recent fixed-term contract. Consequently Unum, refused his claim for income protection. This was despite the fact that Mr Hall’s contract had also been extended by a further year.
Mr Hall made a claim to the Employment Tribunal that he had been treated less favourably under the Fixed-term Employee Regulations.
You can read the decision here