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Employment lawyer’s view on the Eva Carneiro settlement

Chelsea Employment Tribunal Settlement-01

The dust now appears to have settled on the bitter legal battle between ex-Chelsea first team Doctor, Eva Carneiro, Jose Mourinho the ex-Chelsea Manager and Chelsea Football Club. It is reported that Ms Carneiro rejected an offer of £1.2 million to settle her claim out of court.

The final sum accepted as part of the out of court settlement reached yesterday may continue to be the subject of speculation for some time to come, but the cloak of confidentiality around the terms of the agreement may mean that we never actually know the figure.

If we were gamblers it is probably a fair bet that it was not less than £1.2 million!
Doctor Carneiro brought two employment related claims, firstly a claim of constructive unfair dismissal and secondly a claim of sex discrimination.

She claimed that during her employment, treatment such as lack of action over sexually explicit comments made at away games, lack of changing facilities and the clubs failure to provide her with an official suit eroded the employment relationship to such an extent that she was forced to resign (“constructive dismissal”).

In addition, she is claiming that this treatment, coupled with the comments of Jose Mourinho on 8 August last year, when he is alleged to have said “filha da puta” (which roughly translates to “daughter of a whore”) in response to her running onto the pitch to help an injured player, amounts to sex discrimination.

Discrimination Cases in the UK

If the case went to full hearing in the Employment Tribunal, the court’s decision in the discrimination claim may have turned on whether it accepted the Chelsea camp’s defence to the claims, namely that Doctor Carneiro’s discrimination claim was nothing but a tactical move. The club claimed that Jose Mourinho did not use the words alleged, which have a discriminatory connotation, but instead actually merely exclaimed “filho da puta” (which roughly translates to “son of a b***h).

It is hard to see how this makes any difference from a moral point of view if indeed the comment was directed at Doctor Carneiro, but legally this would be a key factor as to whether the discrimination claim would have succeeded. A good old fashioned profanity in the eyes of the law is different to one found to be discriminatory in terms of the level of compensation that may be awarded.

If the case went to full hearing in the Employment Tribunal and Ms Carneiro was successful in her claim of constructive dismissal, the maximum compensatory award is £78,962. On the other hand, if an Employment Tribunal found sexual discrimination occurred, there is no limit on the amount of compensation that may be awarded, although there are accepted guidelines. In theory the value of Doctor Carneiro’s claim could have exceeded the £1.2 million settlement sum that was rejected by her earlier this week.

The level of compensation will take into account financial loss such as loss of earnings/future earnings, loss of pension and loss of benefits in kind, and is likely to include a sum for “injury to feelings” resulting from her treatment. In addition, it may cover a sum to compensate her for psychiatric injury.

Although this is a high profile case because of public interest in the personalities involved, there are lessons to be learned for all employers. Employers will no doubt question why, if the discriminatory act was alleged to have been committed by Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea Football club found itself as a defendant to the claim? For the purposes of discrimination legislation, an employer can be found responsible for anything done by an employee in the normal course of employment, unless it took reasonable steps to prevent it.

Employers should ensure that:

In the event that out of court settlements are achieved, ensure that the confidentiality obligations are water tight. Only time will tell if Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have achieved this!

For more information and guidance on an effective diversity framework for your business or any other employment law related matters contact us.

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

EMPLOYMENT LAWYER’S VIEW ON THE EVA CARNEIRO SETTLEMENT

Chelsea Employment Tribunal Settlement-01

The dust now appears to have settled on the bitter legal battle between ex-Chelsea first team Doctor, Eva Carneiro, Jose Mourinho the ex-Chelsea Manager and Chelsea Football Club. It is reported that Ms Carneiro rejected an offer of £1.2 million to settle her claim out of court.

The final sum accepted as part of the out of court settlement reached yesterday may continue to be the subject of speculation for some time to come, but the cloak of confidentiality around the terms of the agreement may mean that we never actually know the figure.

If we were gamblers it is probably a fair bet that it was not less than £1.2 million!
Doctor Carneiro brought two employment related claims, firstly a claim of constructive unfair dismissal and secondly a claim of sex discrimination.

She claimed that during her employment, treatment such as lack of action over sexually explicit comments made at away games, lack of changing facilities and the clubs failure to provide her with an official suit eroded the employment relationship to such an extent that she was forced to resign (“constructive dismissal”).

In addition, she is claiming that this treatment, coupled with the comments of Jose Mourinho on 8 August last year, when he is alleged to have said “filha da puta” (which roughly translates to “daughter of a whore”) in response to her running onto the pitch to help an injured player, amounts to sex discrimination.

Discrimination Cases in the UK

If the case went to full hearing in the Employment Tribunal, the court’s decision in the discrimination claim may have turned on whether it accepted the Chelsea camp’s defence to the claims, namely that Doctor Carneiro’s discrimination claim was nothing but a tactical move. The club claimed that Jose Mourinho did not use the words alleged, which have a discriminatory connotation, but instead actually merely exclaimed “filho da puta” (which roughly translates to “son of a b***h).

It is hard to see how this makes any difference from a moral point of view if indeed the comment was directed at Doctor Carneiro, but legally this would be a key factor as to whether the discrimination claim would have succeeded. A good old fashioned profanity in the eyes of the law is different to one found to be discriminatory in terms of the level of compensation that may be awarded.

If the case went to full hearing in the Employment Tribunal and Ms Carneiro was successful in her claim of constructive dismissal, the maximum compensatory award is £78,962. On the other hand, if an Employment Tribunal found sexual discrimination occurred, there is no limit on the amount of compensation that may be awarded, although there are accepted guidelines. In theory the value of Doctor Carneiro’s claim could have exceeded the £1.2 million settlement sum that was rejected by her earlier this week.

The level of compensation will take into account financial loss such as loss of earnings/future earnings, loss of pension and loss of benefits in kind, and is likely to include a sum for “injury to feelings” resulting from her treatment. In addition, it may cover a sum to compensate her for psychiatric injury.

Although this is a high profile case because of public interest in the personalities involved, there are lessons to be learned for all employers. Employers will no doubt question why, if the discriminatory act was alleged to have been committed by Jose Mourinho, the Chelsea Football club found itself as a defendant to the claim? For the purposes of discrimination legislation, an employer can be found responsible for anything done by an employee in the normal course of employment, unless it took reasonable steps to prevent it.

Employers should ensure that:

  • There are effective diversity policies in place that are well known to employees, regularly monitored and followed when an allegation is made;
  • There is an effective grievance policy in place;
  • Diversity awareness training is given to all employees irrespective of rank and visibly supported by the Executive leadership of the business;
  • There are effective contracts of employment in place with effective confidentiality obligations;

In the event that out of court settlements are achieved, ensure that the confidentiality obligations are water tight. Only time will tell if Chelsea Football Club and Jose Mourinho have achieved this!

For more information and guidance on an effective diversity framework for your business or any other employment law related matters contact us.