The EAT has confirmed in Marangakis v Iceland Foods Ltd that once an employee has been reinstated following an appeal, they cannot subsequently lodge a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal as any dismissal is deemed under the law to have disappeared as a result of the reinstatement.


Basic facts

Ms Marangakis was dismissed for alleged gross misconduct on 24 January 2019. She appealed and asked, at that point, to be reinstated. An appeal hearing set for 22 March was postponed to allow for further investigations. On 25 March, she sent an email challenging the disciplinary process, at which point she made clear that she no longer wanted to be reinstated on the basis that “the mutual trust … between us has been broken”. Instead, she asked for compensation. At a reconvened appeal hearing on 27 March, she asked again for compensation and an apology.

On 10 April, she was informed that her appeal against summary dismissal had been allowed and that she was to be reinstated with continuity of service and backpay. However, as she failed to return to work, she was dismissed on 16 July. She lodged tribunal proceedings arguing that her dismissal on 24 January was unfair. She did not, however, refer to the later dismissal on 16 July. Iceland argued that as she had been reinstated on 10 April, the original dismissal had disappeared.


Tribunal decision

Relying on the decision in Patel v Folkestone Nursing Home Ltd (weekly LELR 589), the tribunal agreed that the dismissal had vanished once Iceland had made the decision to reinstate her. Had she withdrawn her appeal, she could have “escaped” that consequence, but she had failed to do so.

The tribunal confirmed that: “Unless there is withdrawal from the appeal process altogether, both the employee and the employer will be bound by the reinstated contract of employment consequent upon a successful appeal. Were it not so, the legal effect of a successful appeal would be dependent on the different motives and/or changing states of mind of a particular appellant, which would be inconsistent with the legal certainty brought about by Patel”.

Ms Marangakis appealed, arguing that by virtue of stating that she did not want to work for Iceland, it was clear that she was, in fact, withdrawing from the appeal. The trust argued that as the employment tribunal had held as a matter of fact that she did not withdraw, her appeal to the EAT was just an attempt to assert that that decision was perverse.


EAT decision

Dismissing the appeal, the EAT held that when an employment relationship ends, some terms of the employment contract may endure, including a right of appeal against dismissal. It went on to state that: “[u]nless there are express contractual terms that provide otherwise, as a matter of objective contractual analysis, when a contractual right of appeal is exercised, the agreement between the parties is that should the appeal succeed, the employee will be treated as never having been dismissed, and will be reinstated with backpay. This is a matter of objective contractual assessment and does not turn on the subjective reason why the employee chose to appeal”.

Despite stating that she did not wish to return to work for Iceland, Ms Marangakis had continued to participate in the appeal. Given the specific words she had used – that she did not want to return to work – the tribunal found, as a fact, that she had not withdrawn her appeal. As the appeal had resulted in her reinstatement, she could not claim unfair dismissal. Although she had not returned to work after she was reinstated, there had been nothing to stop her from resigning and claiming constructive dismissal, but instead she had specifically ruled out that option.



This case is a reminder that the relationship between employee and employer is a contractual one. As such, judges will apply an objective assessment based on the principles of contract law. Ms Marangakis indicated at the appeal hearing that she did not wish to return to work. But clear and unequivocal communication is required in these situations to avoid any potential ambiguity. Ms Marangakis needed to clearly communicate her withdrawal from the appeal process in order to ensure her contract was not automatically reinstated when the dismissal was overturned.