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Johnson v Unisys Ltd

[2001] 2 WLR 1076

Case summary last updated at 04/01/2020 14:15 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Johnson v Unisys Ltd

 D was summarily dismissed and sued for unfair dismissal. He had claimed under the statutory scheme which led to him being awarded a small amount, but also appealed under a general common law duty of “trust and confidence” owed to employees, since, due to the manner of his dismissal, he suffered a mental breakdown. However HL said that this was a duty that only existed while D remained in employment and did not relate to the manner in which he was sacked, because inevitably, when an employee is being sacked, it is because an employer no longer has trust and confidence in him. Furthermore, given the statutory scheme, it is parliament that has decided what an employee should receive. NB, although Lord Steyn agreed with the outcome (since D had not proven his claim) he disagrees with the majority since (1) the scheme’s tiny awards are clearly not intended to cover all cases; (2) duty and trust doctrine should apply to sacked employees, lest employers are better off suspending employees rather than sacking them; (3) Addis is outdated and fails to acknowledge the importance of a person’s job to their life. 

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