We have been lucky with a mild winter (so far!) - but in February, the last month of winter, we bring you cases that may stir up some emotions this month. We start with a case in which an Employment Tribunal awarded a penalty to a Claimant it found to to be untrustworthy - at Appeal it was all turned on it's head. Prepare to be amazed as you read our summary. Meantime, we bring you some good news about a Company who took an ex-employee to court for breaching the restrictive covenants while working for her new employer (who was also cited). Are your clauses good? Will they protect your business? And next something to be aware of. Recent cases confirm that Respondent's loosing at ET (mostly employers) should expect to pay the claimant's fees. Perhaps our Thought for the Day about preparation is suitable this month? Our Top Tip also hints at planning - here it's planning return to work interviews. Consistently regarded as one of the most effective sickness absence actions that is simple for a business to do - but, do ask us for tips to get it right! Don't forget the Diary column - we've noted early April's statutory pay increases.
Claimant lies at ET - but may not get penalised after all
A Claimant, with previous experience of supporting her brother in an unconnected discrimination claim, brought a claim against her own ex-employer of race discrimination, harassment and victimisation. Having sworn at Employment Tribunal Court to tell the truth about her claim, at conclusion the ET found the Claimant's evidence to be untrustworthy, unbelievable and included falsified documents. The court awarded her to pay £8,900 to the Respondent, her ex-employer. She appealed and the EAT thought the ET got it wrong, it seems a lie is not a lie "as simple as that" - read more here.
Restrictive Covenants are enforceable - ex-employee has to pay up for breaches of clauses
An employee left a company where she had worked for around 2 years. Her contract of employment had clear restrictive covenants that were common in her industry. It was discovered that after joining her new company (in the same industry) she breached the restrictive covenants. (With, in our opinion, staggering arrogance.) The old company took the former employee, and the new employer to the High Court ... read our summary to find out what the court thought of her, and new employer's conduct here.
If your Company looses at ET you will have to pay the claimant's fees
You will remember that in the Summer of 2013 there was an introduction of fees to be paid for making a claim to Employment Tribunal. Most ET claims are made by individuals. We certainly hoped it would reduce the number of speculative claims - in the old days dubious types would fill in the ET1 form online, for free, and try to frighten the company out of some cash. However, recent judgements means that companies must be very clear about how secure their position and defence is before attending at ET. If they loose, they can expect to pay the claimant's fees - see the current fees and our summary here. We work hard to keep our clients out of ET. Remember, you can always give us a ring about other strategies on 0845 463 3231.
Thought for the day
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail"