HM Prison Service v Beart, EAT, 26 October 2004

No limit to compensation
HM Prison Service v Beart, EAT, 26 October 2004

Beart was an administrative officer with HM Prison Service. She successfully claimed disability discrimination and unfair dismissal when it failed to redeploy or relocate her when she was off work with depression.

Appeals by HM Prison Service to the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal failed.

Beart was awarded substantial six-figure compensation in respect of her disability discrimination claim, and a basic award of 3,300 and damages for personal injury, injury to feelings and aggravated damages. HM Prison Service was also ordered to pay some of the costs of the tribunal hearings.

It appealed against the compensation on a number of grounds and, in particular, argued that Beart’s subsequent dismissal terminated its liability for the earlier wrong of disability discrimination, and that all further losses had to be assessed under the unfair dismissal regime (ie with a statutory cap) as opposed to the substantial sums recovered under disability discrimination compensation.

The appeal was dismissed. There was clear evidence that the psychiatric harm caused by the act of discrimination and its impact upon Beart’s ability to work continued far beyond the date of her dismissal, and in the absence of a fair dismissal, there was no reason why compensation should end at that date.

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