Boyle v Virgo Fidelis Senior School, unreported, EAT, January 2004

Injury to feelings needs care: Boyle was a physics and maths teacher at the school and expressed concerns at the number of allegations of bullying made against him by the deputy head.

He was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct and brought a successful whistleblowing claim. Boyle was awarded £42,500 for injury to feelings, and around £1,700 for loss of earnings.

The school appealed, arguing that the tribunal should have considered comparable awards for injury to feelings in race or sex discrimination cases and the guidelines established in Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police. Boyle cross appealed against the tribunal’s refusal to award aggravated and exemplary damages.

The EAT held that the tribunal had erred in not referring to the Vento guidelines. Detriment under the whistleblowing legislation was a form of discrimination, and it was important to maintain consistency in awards throughout all areas of discrimination. It replaced the award for injury to feelings with £25,000.

The tribunal had erred in concluding that it had no authority to make an award of aggravated damages, and the EAT awarded £10,000 for this as well.

Boyle’s appeal against the tribunal’s refusal to award exemplary damages was dismissed.

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