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Employee’s Successful Victimisation Claim After Numerous Unsuccessful Discrimination Claims

Paperwork Frustration (123rf 9725484)

SUMMARY: The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has overturned an Employment Tribunal decision by holding that an employee was victimised after the employee raised numerous grievances and tribunal claims over a 5 year period.

Background

Mr W, the employee, raised ten grievances against his employer between 2005 and 2010.  He also had a period off work when he was sick with stress.  The first grievance related to alleged racist comments and the subsequent grievances were in relation to a variety of topics including a sick pay complaint and the way in which his grievances were handled.  None of his grievances were upheld.

Mr W also made several claims in the employment tribunal including allegations of harassment and race discrimination.  These claims were unsuccessful.

Eventually the employer dismissed Mr W on the basis that the relationship had irretrievably broken down and there was no longer trust and confidence between Mr W and the employer.

Mr W brought claims in the Employment Tribunal against his employer, including unfair dismissal and victimisation.

Victimisation means that an employee has suffered detrimental treatment because they have carried out a protected act.  Protected acts include bringing grievances and/or employment tribunal claims in relation to discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal’s decision

The Employment Tribunal dismissed the victimisation claim and held that the reason for dismissal fell within “some other substantial reason”, one of the five fair reasons for dismissal (although a fair process had not been followed).

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision

The EAT recognised that there had been an obsessive over-reaction by Mr W, but held that he had still suffered victimisation.  The EAT overturned the finding that his dismissal had been for some other substantial reason, substituting the reason of victimisation for the dismissal.

A word of warning

This case seems to be fairly harsh marking for employers who have a business to run but are instead having to spend valuable time and resources on an obsessive employee who has raised grievances which have not been upheld.

This decision highlights that an employer should always bear in mind the possibility of an expensive successful victimisation claim when dismissing an employee after they have brought a grievance (or several) against the employer, particularly if these relate to discrimination.  There is an increased risk if the dismissal is for “some other substantial reason” rather than, for example, unrelated misconduct.

Case: Woodhouse v West North West Homes Leeds Limited UK/EAT/0007/12

Hazel Robbins, Solicitor.

Contact Information

fgmedia@floydgraham.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143 

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice. 

Updated: by FG Solicitors
Call us on:  0808 172 93 22

EMPLOYEE€S SUCCESSFUL VICTIMISATION CLAIM AFTER NUMEROUS UNSUCCESSFUL DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS

Paperwork Frustration (123rf 9725484)

SUMMARY: The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has overturned an Employment Tribunal decision by holding that an employee was victimised after the employee raised numerous grievances and tribunal claims over a 5 year period.

Background

Mr W, the employee, raised ten grievances against his employer between 2005 and 2010.  He also had a period off work when he was sick with stress.  The first grievance related to alleged racist comments and the subsequent grievances were in relation to a variety of topics including a sick pay complaint and the way in which his grievances were handled.  None of his grievances were upheld.

Mr W also made several claims in the employment tribunal including allegations of harassment and race discrimination.  These claims were unsuccessful.

Eventually the employer dismissed Mr W on the basis that the relationship had irretrievably broken down and there was no longer trust and confidence between Mr W and the employer.

Mr W brought claims in the Employment Tribunal against his employer, including unfair dismissal and victimisation.

Victimisation means that an employee has suffered detrimental treatment because they have carried out a protected act.  Protected acts include bringing grievances and/or employment tribunal claims in relation to discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal’s decision

The Employment Tribunal dismissed the victimisation claim and held that the reason for dismissal fell within “some other substantial reason”, one of the five fair reasons for dismissal (although a fair process had not been followed).

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision

The EAT recognised that there had been an obsessive over-reaction by Mr W, but held that he had still suffered victimisation.  The EAT overturned the finding that his dismissal had been for some other substantial reason, substituting the reason of victimisation for the dismissal.

A word of warning

This case seems to be fairly harsh marking for employers who have a business to run but are instead having to spend valuable time and resources on an obsessive employee who has raised grievances which have not been upheld.

This decision highlights that an employer should always bear in mind the possibility of an expensive successful victimisation claim when dismissing an employee after they have brought a grievance (or several) against the employer, particularly if these relate to discrimination.  There is an increased risk if the dismissal is for “some other substantial reason” rather than, for example, unrelated misconduct.

Case: Woodhouse v West North West Homes Leeds Limited UK/EAT/0007/12

Hazel Robbins, Solicitor.

Contact Information

fgmedia@floydgraham.co.uk

+44 (0) 1604 871143 

This update is for general guidance only and does not constitute definitive advice.