Case round-up:No right to work, no compensatory award


Mr Assoukou brought tribunal complaints of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination against his former employer, Select Services Partners. The firm was late putting in its response to the complaints and was debarred from defending the claims.


Assoukou’s complaints were upheld. The tribunal made a basic award of 160.80 for his unfair dismissal complaint, but did not make any further compensatory award. It appeared that his entry to the UK was subject to the supervision of the Home Office’s Immigration and Nationality Department. According to a letter from the secretary of state, he was prohibited from taking employment after 29 October. His employment had in fact terminated on 20 October. Therefore, no compensatory award (which covers, among other things, future loss of earnings) was made. He appealed.


The appeal was dismissed. There was no ground upon which the tribunal’s decision not to make a compensatory award in respect of his successful unfair dismissal complaint could be challenged in law. And, given the tribunal’s finding that Assoukou was not entitled to be employed after 29 October, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) said it was not surprising that the tribunal did not award compensation for injury to feelings. It said that his anger and frustration that his employer did not employ him was not caused by the sex discrimination complaint, but from the decision of the Home Office, prohibiting him from taking employment.


In this case, the individual’s employment had been terminated before the date after which he could no longer be employed under Home Office rules. But it is a useful reminder to check that prospective staff have the right to work legally in the UK. It is a criminal offence to employ a person 16 years or over who has no right to work in the UK, or no right to do the work being offered.


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