Remote workers and the territorial scope of UK employment rights

Given IT developments, it is now possible for employees working for British businesses to work remotely from other countries. Businesses that use remote workers in other countries should take note of an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision which examined the territorial scope of UK employment rights.

The EAT held that an Australian citizen employed by a British company, who worked remotely in Australia for family reasons, was entitled to pursue unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims in an English employment tribunal. The work that she performed in Australia was for the benefit of the employer’s London operation and, given this, the fact that she was a “virtual employee” in Australia rather than a “physical employee” in London did not mean that she fell outside the protection of UK employment rights.