Reed Smith Newsletters

Welcome to our monthly newsletter, with a summary of the latest news and developments in UK employment law.

Case law updates

Costs award – serial claimant: An employment tribunal (ET) has ordered a claimant to pay £18,000 on the basis that he acted vexatiously and unreasonably in bringing his claim, it being part of a campaign of litigation. The ET found that the claimant (Dr Christian Mallon) was an experienced litigator who had brought numerous claims (the judgment suggests relating to some of over 4,600 job applications). He had previously been warned by a judge that strike outs and costs awards were a possible consequence if he was found to be routinely applying for jobs which he did not want, with the intention of commencing litigation. In this case, the ET found that the claimant’s claim had not been made in good faith, that the claimant must have known his claim had no merit, and that it was part of a wider campaign and system of the claimant applying for multiple roles for which he had no relevant experience. (Mallon v Electus Recruitment Solutions Ltd)

Disability discrimination – reasonable adjustments: A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision highlights the importance of knowledge of both a disability and its effects when determining whether discrimination has occurred. In this case, the claimant was being orally interviewed for an internal promotion and ahead of the interview said that because of his stammer (which his employer was already aware of) he may need longer to answer questions. He did well at interview and was just one point short of the next highest scorer, who was promoted. The claimant subsequently brought a claim for a failure to make reasonable adjustments, saying that during the interview he gave shorter answers than he might otherwise have done in order to avoid stammering, affecting his performance. However, as he had not previously mentioned this potential effect of his stammer, his employer had no actual knowledge of this particular disadvantage, and on the evidence his employer could not reasonably have been expected to know about it. It was relevant that the claimant performed highly at work (and did so at interview), and no concerns had arisen at a previous interview. As such, his claim failed. (Glasson v Insolvency Service)

Remedies – calculating compensation: A claimant has been awarded over £470,000 (excluding interest) after winning an unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim. An interesting and headline-grabbing case from a factual perspective (the claimant having been dismissed for using racially inappropriate language during an equality training session), it acts as reminder to employers about not only appropriate sanctions, but also the financial consequences of getting it wrong. The remedies judgment provides useful commentary on the ET’s approach to making recommendations and approach to certain elements of compensation, including: failures to reinstate, Acas uplifts, recovery of certain expenses, personal injury, and calculating long term loss of earnings. (Borg-Neal v. Lloyds Banking Group)

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