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TUPE regulations apply even where large part of job becomes automated

In Anglo Beef Processors v Longland and Meat & Livestock Commercial Services, Mr Longland had been employed as a carcass service officer for Meat & Livestock, manually classifying carcasses in an abattoir.

Anglo Beef (the client) contracted with Meat & Livestock to provide carcass inspection services. Mr Longland occasionally used computer software to electronically classify the carcasses but in the majority of the time, he classified the caracasses manually. Anglo Beef eventually decided that they would take the classifying services back in-house and use computer software going forward. Anglo Beef terminated the contract with Meat & Livestock.

Both the ET and EAT upheld Mr Longland’s claim and reiterated the importance of adopting a common sense approach to whether the activities remained “fundamentally the same.”

Mr Longland claimed at tribunal that the TUPE Regulations applied and as a result, he should transfer to Anglo Beef on the basis that the activities carried out were “fundamentally the same” both before and after the transfer.

Both the ET and EAT upheld Mr Longland’s claim and reiterated the importance of adopting a common sense approach to whether the activities remained “fundamentally the same.” The activity of processing and labelling carcasses did not change (whether done manually or electronically) and so Mr Longland should have TUPE transferred to Anglo Beef.

This case follows in the same vein as cases before it, the mode of carrying out an activity may change but the activity may remain fundamentally the same. This area of law is very fact specific so for more information, please contact our employment team.

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