Joe England increases compensation for discrimination victim from £1,135 to over £60,000

15th December 2015

In a long running and emotionally charged case, Joe England successfully represented a school caretaker who was unfairly dismissed and the victim of sex discrimination. In the latest chapter of the case and following a successful appeal earlier this year, Mr England last week successfully gained an increase in the compensatory award from £1135 (rounded) to over £60,000.

The male school caretaker was dismissed for allegations loosely based on ‘crossing professional boundaries’ in relation to his interactions with children. The dismissal was exposed by Mr England at the employment tribunal as involving an investigation that was “seriously flawed”, by the appeal stage “the process was so badly flawed, it was irredeemable” and an act of sex discrimination. The case serves as an important example of why a fair and thorough investigation is needed in cases of misconduct, especially when the allegations are as serious as those against this employee, and of the frenzy that can be caused by un-checked prejudice.

Out of a maximum 25%, the tribunal awarded a 20% uplift for failure to comply with the ACAS code. At the remedy hearing, the tribunal nevertheless awarded a nearly 100% Polkey reduction to the Claimant’s compensation, leaving £1,135. However, Langstaff J in the EAT agreed with Mr England that the tribunal had erred in its approach by not correctly assessing the chances of a fair dismissal occurring, instead considering only whether there ‘could be’ a fair dismissal.

Most recently, the case returned to the tribunal for assessment and the tribunal have increased the compensatory award to over £60,000. This sum has been awarded in addition to over £20,000 for injury to feelings in respect of the discrimination suffered by the employee.

Reasons were not provided in the hearing and are expected early in the New Year. Mr England was instructed by SA Law.