Case roundup

This week’s case roundup

£10,000 award for injury to feelings not excessive
Bennett t/a Foxbar Hotel v Reid, EAT, IDS Brief 699

Reid brought a successful claim for sex discrimination after experiencing 12
months of sexual harassment which culminated in her dismissal from her chosen
career.

The tribunal awarded her £10,000 for injury to feelings after finding the
treatment she suffered was distasteful and unpleasant, especially as Bennett
had attempted to take advantage of his economic power over Reid, who was much
younger. The tribunal was satisfied that Reid was seriously distressed, angered
and hurt as a result of Bennett’s conduct, and these feelings were exacerbated
by her dismissal.

On appeal, Bennett argued that the award was punitive and grossly
disproportionate taking into account the evidence given by Reid. Moreover, the
award was excessive when compared to a personal injury award for a comparable
psychiatric injury.

Although the EAT was of the view the award of £10,000 was ‘generous’. It
considered the nature of the conduct proved against Bennett and its effect on
Reid and held the award was not out of proportion to what might reasonably have
been awarded. The appeal was dismissed.

Confidential references to be disclosed
University of Glasgow v Jindal, EAT, EOR Digest No 49, autumn 2001

Jindal failed to obtain position of chairman at the university because of
adverse references provided in confidence by third parties.

Jindal claimed race discrimination, and as a preliminary point successfully
sought disclosure of the references. The tribunal held that as the references
included details of the circumstances upon which the university had reached its
decision, fairness dictated that for the full hearing, Jindal should have sight
of them and be aware of who wrote them.

The university unsuccessfully appealed to the EAT. While the disclosure of
confidential information, particularly in relation to third-party references is
highly sensitive, the EAT ruled that the tribunal had applied the correct test
in considering both the relevance of the documents and the necessity of
disclosure in order to deal fairly with the proceedings. Other than removing
the names it was not possible to make the documents anonymous and, in any
event, the EAT held that not only should Jindal know who the authors were but
also their professional and racial background.

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