Lessons from Yorkshire

Black and white image with red cricket ball

Much has been said in recent weeks about events at Yorkshire County Cricket Club. Some things appear to have been settled, principally the employment claim brought by ex-Captain Azeem Rafiq. There may be further pain for the club once further details of the parallel process – the internal inquiry into racism at the club – emerge.

Commentators have been quick to point out serious flaws in the club’s public relations management and there has been an open debate as to whether the institution is fundamentally racist.

The club has clearly been outplayed on the legal front. On the face of it, what the club had to deal with was a classic “two-pronged” problem. No claimant’s solicitor can be sure how the tactic of forcing the employer to fight on two fronts will work out; but provided there is sufficient resource and strength of will, it often proves very effective. The club’s defence tactic appears to have been to prevent one process from infecting the other. But that is very hard to achieve in practice and in the Yorkshire case things started to collapse following a leak of their internal report into racism.

In the field of employment law, when relationships break down there is often an opportunity for an employee to create two simultaneous processes. At its simplest, this can be achieved through an employment claim on the one hand and a request for access to the subject employee’s personal data under the Data Protection Act 2018 on the other. Where an employee is also a shareholder or a director of the employer, he or she will have additional potential rights that may be pursued in order to increase pressure on the employer.

Employers have fewer such tools at their disposal. But it is not uncommon to see them open their own process against the employee, in many cases as a way of neutralising the dispute or disputes that they face.

MDS Advisory acts for claimants and respondents in employment disputes. We also provide general advice on all employment matters including contract negotiation, transfer of undertakings, incentive schemes and on restructuring generally. We have an ongoing workload of matters in the employment tribunal and High Court. We invariably seek to add a strategic layer to our advice: something that recent events in Yorkshire suggest is more important than ever. Please contact Adam Oliver on to discuss any employment law issue that you are facing.

Much has been said about events at Yorkshire County Cricket Club and whether the institution is fundamentally racist. MDS Advisory acts for claimants & respondents in such disputes.