P was granted 3 extra days holiday but had to sign an agreement saying that if she failed to return to work on time her contract would be terminated. This happened because P was ill (with doctor’s letter), and she was sacked. CA said that because you can’t contract out of the ERA 1996 (under s.203-no limiting of provisions or excluding jurisdictions of tribunals) and this agreement would do so unless it is accepted that the automatic termination constituted a dismissal, which the court held it to be.
Parker LJ: The ERA extends the concept of dismissal to cases where there is apparently agreement but the employee is not willing to leave e.g. non-renewal of fixed term contracts (s.95(1)(b)) or leaving after being given notice (s.95(2)). Thus it isn’t true that a person’s leaving as a result of an agreement rules out the possibility of a dismissal. The agreement’s provision for automatic dismissal limited the scope of the ERA’s unfair dismissal provisions and was therefore invalid. It DID constitute a dismissal. This appears to suggest that any agreement which deprives an employee of the statutory rights (in effect, even if it doesn’t do so expressly) is invalid.