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Harpur Trust loses in landmark pay dispute case

Harpur Trust loses in landmark pay dispute case | Insurance Business UK

Harpur Trust loses in landmark pay dispute case

Harpur Trust v Brazel has finally concluded with a Supreme Court judgement in favour of music teacher and ARAG policyholder Lesley Brazel.

“After an eight-year legal process, I am pleased to have finally secured a basic employment right in accordance with the law and as stated in my employment contract,” said Brazel, who first brought her complaint for unlawful wage deduction to an employment tribunal in 2015.

“I would like to thank the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), ARAG Insurance, and the legal teams at Hopkins Solicitors and 3PB Barristers, for their outstanding professional, legal, and financial assistance throughout.”

The landmark dispute case, which Harpur Trust had contested further after losing in the England and Wales Court of Appeal in 2019, was about holiday pay. The teacher’s permanent employment was based on a zero-hours contract which provided no fixed hours of work, and her claim accused the employer of unlawful deduction when Brazel’s holiday pay was calculated by pro-rating entitlement based on the number of weeks worked in the holiday year.

“This long-running case has highlighted the enormous value that legal expenses insurance provides,” asserted ARAG claims head Chris Millward. “Mrs Brazel has been able to defend her legal rights over many years, all the way to the highest court in the land, securing a basic but significant employment right for many others who work under similar conditions and contracts.

“The costs in appealing the original employment tribunal decision and subsequently responding in the Court of Appeal and, ultimately, the Supreme Court, far exceeded the value of the original claim. While unusual, this underlines the lengths to which ARAG will go to deliver access to justice for policyholders.”

The ARAG Group Legal Solutions policy insures ISM members like Brazel against the cost of legal actions including employment claims.