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4th November, 2020

Record costs order at the Employment Tribunal

calculations with woman holding a pen

Awarding costs is the exception rather than the norm for cases in the Employment Tribunal, with the usual position being that each party bears their own costs.

In a recent Judgment, the Employment tribunal issued what is thought to be the largest costs order ever imposed on a Claimant, of over £432,000.

The case, Tan v Copthorne Hotels Ltd, involved a number of claims brought by a former Senior Vice President against the global hotel chain. The Claimant had been placed at risk of redundancy, been taken through a redundancy consultation process and eventually dismissed. The Claimant claimed that he had been discriminated against and paid less than comparative colleagues because of his sexual orientation and ethnicity.

The claims he brought in the Employment Tribunal comprised of unfair dismissal, automatic unfair dismissal, age discrimination, race discrimination, discrimination because of sexual orientation, victimisation, harassment, whistleblowing detriment and unlawful deductions from wages.

The Claimant was found to have covertly recorded a large number of private meetings and conversations which he planned to rely upon at the tribunal, resulting in more than 3,000 pages of evidence. The tribunal found this to be “deceitful” and “duplicitous underhand conduct on the part of the claimant who was collecting evidence for the purposes of proceedings.

The Tribunal offered the Claimant a chance to withdraw his claims, which he refused.  The Tribunal found the dismissal to be fair and stated that, had they not found the dismissal to be fair, they “would have found that the claimant would have been dismissed in any event as soon as the respondent found out about the making of his covert recordings.” All the Claimant’s claims were dismissed by the Tribunal in November 2018. The costs hearing took place between 25 August and 3 September 2020.

This rare judgement shows that the Employment Tribunal is much more likely to find in favour of Employers in relation to costs when Claimants have acted in an unjust manner.

Top Tips for Employers:  

  • Ensure that you have a clear policy outlining redundancy process and that this is freely available for employees to read.
  • When conducting redundancy consultation meetings, ensure that the ground rules on recordings are known to the employee and that doing so without permission would result in disciplinary proceedings.
  • Be open and transparent in redundancy consultations so that the employee understands the process and understands that they have the right to appeal any redundancy decision.

If you or your business would like advice in relation to redundancy procedure or any other Employment Law related matter please contact Tori Shepherd in the Employment team.

Tori Shepherd

Employment Law

Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01743 296 251

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