Size of organisation irrelevant when assessing compensation

Evans v Oaklands Nursing Home Group IRLB 642, EAT

• Evans brought a successful disability discrimination claim against Oaklands and was awarded £500 compensation and £1,500 for hurt feelings. The tribunal gave no reasons for the award of £500 but it took into account Oakland’s size and resources when awarding the £1,500 which was an award “at the highest end of the scale”. The Disability Discrimination Act provides that just and equitable compensation can be awarded, calculated by applying the principles used in calculating damages in tort claims.

Evans appealed the size of the awards. The EAT set aside the award of £500 because the tribunal failed to indicate how it reached this figure, but it also set aside the award of £1,500. The tribunal had failed to apply the relevant principles in calculating compensation and Oakland’s size and resources were irrelevant in determining the amount to be paid. It was for Evans to prove that her feelings had been hurt and that compensation was appropriate. The EAT directed there should be a fresh hearing and, if required, medical evidence adduced before it was heard.


Dismissal for redundancy was fair


Russell v London Borough of Haringey, unreported June 2000 Court of Appeal

• Russell was Haringey’s only panel administrator and provided administrative support to Haringey’s children’s panels. His job description required him to provide cover for other staff. Russell’s post was made redundant and he was dismissed. Haringey’s redundancy procedure provided that the selection criteria would only be used once it was established that an employee was interchangeable with another. If the employee was not interchangeable they would be declared redundant without any further selection process.

Russell brought unsuccessful unfair dismissal and breach of contract claims arguing that his post was interchangeable because of the requirement to provide cover. The tribunal held Russell’s post was not interchangeable and there was no need to apply the selection criteria. Russell appealed unsuccessfully to the EAT and to the Court of Appeal.It held that the post of panel administrator was different from any other post and notwithstanding the requirement to provide cover for colleagues, this did not mean the post was interchangeable.

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