What The Doctor Didn’t Say
Tribunal awards are calculated based on various categories. Constructive unfair dismissal awards are capped at £76,574 or 1 year’s salary whichever is lower. Discrimination claims are uncapped. The tribunal has to determine how bad the discrimination was whether it related to one or more category of the Equality Act e.g. was it sex and age. Here again the award is capped depending on the severity of the discrimination. However, what is not capped is the damages due to hurt feelings and recognition by the tribunal of how difficult it is for the claimant to find equal re-employment. The claimant has to show they have tried or have signed on after receiving an award for constructive dismissal and discrimination. They would also look at the pension position and some other issues.
None of this should in this case get to more than £1.2m!
Chelsea caved in because they did not want to go to a full hearing where all the evidence would be in the public domain and to prevent its prominent staff members being subject to detailed cross examination. The reputational damage to club and its staff, especially with sponsorship partners, potentially would be immense. Major sponsors take a dim view of bullying and all forms of discrimination and are not slow to dump companies who do not conform to their ethical values – just look at IAAF and Nestle.
Regrettably we will never know what the doctor would have said.
Chelsea have incurred substantial expense in legal fees and perhaps even more in management time in preparing for this hearing most of which could have been avoided if action had been taken earlier. The average cost to defend a tribunal is around £8,500 plus management time plus management stress and potential reputational damage. If you lose there will be an award to pay as well.
Take expert advice before allowing workplace situations to deteriorate into tribunal proceedingsrimination – the Doctor’s Case