Chester 01244 405555

Grosvenor Court
Foregate Street Chester
Cheshire CH1 1HG
DX: 19990 Chester

Shrewsbury 01743 443 043

Lakeside House
Oxon Business Park
Shrewsbury SY3 5HJ
DX: 148563 Shrewsbury 14

Airport City, Manchester 0844 800 8346

Office 129
Manchester Business Park
3000 Aviator Way
Manchester M22 5TG

Send us a message
Our Offices

Employment Tribunal Awards Record Costs of £100,000

31st August, 2011

A case was reported in the Telegraph earlier this month which is sure to send out a message to employees who are considering making a false claim against their employer. This involved a multi-millionaire chairman of a recruitment company in the Midlands, Mr Watts, who was accused of victimisation and discrimination by his former executive, Debbie Smith. She pursued her claim to the Employment Tribunal, arguing that he had made degrading and offensive comments towards her; and that he had even called her a “sexy nurse”.

However, the Tribunal decided that Ms Smith’s claim was false and ordered her to pay Mr Watts a record £100,000 by way of costs. There is usually a cap of £10,000 on costs awarded however, the Tribunal is able to award a higher figure if they require a detailed assessment of costs. Usually, Tribunals are very reluctant to award costs to the successful party and even when they do so, the median cost award has been reported as only £1,000 (according to the statistics from the Tribunal from the 1April 2009 to 31 March 2010).

The Telegraph reported that Mr Watts commented subsequently: “what I’d like this to do is send a message to all the opportunists and chancers and vexatious spongers who bring these cases that it can backfire……It’s crippling the economy. Running a business, especially a small business, has become a nightmare. The time and the money involved in fighting cases just makes the whole thing prohibitive for employers. All this has happened by slight of hand. All in the name of employee protection. So we’ve now got something like 40,000 different employment laws and regulations to deal with – most of them imposed from Europe – and if you can’t find grounds for a case in that lot, you aren’t trying.” This case demonstrates that there may be some redress available where employers are successful in defending spurious claims.

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, please do not hesitate to contact Claire Brook, Partner, Employment Team at [email protected]

You might also be interested in...

Sustainable Palm Oil Project

7th March, 2019

  What’s Good About Palm Oil? Up to 50% of products in an average UK supermarket now contain... Read More »

Compensation for Employees Made Redundant Due to Administration

1st March, 2019

Our solicitors have a proven track record of recovering compensation for clients where their employer is in administration... Read More »

Handling Adverse Weather in the Workplace

29th January, 2019

With Heavy weather promised for the next few days, here is a reminder of the importance to have... Read More »

Contact Us