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4th November 2011

Non EEA family member of an EU national always has right to work in the UK despite expiry of resident card in passport

In H Okuoimose –v- City Facilities Management (UK) Ltd UKEAT/0231/10, the EAT held that the Claimant’s status as a family member of an EU national meant that she had the right in the UK.  When the Claimant’s resident card stamp in her passport the Respondent suspended her without pay, as it thought she did not have the right to work and that her contract of employment was therefore illegal. The Claimant issued proceedings for unlawful deductions from wages. The Employment Judge agreed that on the expiry of her resident card her contract of employment had become illegal, thus that the Claimant could not enforce her claim for unlawful deductions. The EAT reversed this decision, stating that it had been based on irrelevant factors such as the reasonableness of the employer’s belief that the Claimant was not entitled to work and the employer’s apprehension of being exposed to penalties when in reality the Claimant was a member of the family of an EEA national who was at all times entitled to reside and work in the UK, thus she also had a right to work in the UK.