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Employers welcome Abbey’s discrimination appeal

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The Court of Appeal has forced an Employment Tribunal to reassess the damages awarded in a high-profile discrimination case.

A former Asian employee was awarded £2.8m after a tribunal ruled he had been sacked for the colour of his skin, but the Court of Appeal has told the tribunal to reconsider its level of compensation, in what has been labelled a “very welcome decision for employers”.

Balbinder Chagger was made redundant in 2006 and went on to receive one of the highest ever discrimination awards in UK courts. He successfully argued that Abbey showed preference to a colleague during restructuring and that his experiences left him with no choice but to become a teacher, earning significantly less than his £100,000 annual salary at Abbey.

Mr Chagger brought tribunal proceedings claiming unfair dismissal, race discrimination and breach of contract in relation to bonus payments. He won on all three counts at London Central Employment Tribunal in December 2006.

Several appeals followed and this week has seen the first potential slash to Mr Chagger’s finances.

“Compensation for future loss in a discrimination/dismissal case need not be limited to the period for which the claimant would have remained with the employer if unlawful discrimination had not taken place,” said the court’s ruling.

“Stigma” can also be taken into account if the claimant can show they struggled to gain further employment due to their reputation being tarnished by court appearances.

But an award “can be reduced to reflect the chance that the employee would have been dismissed lawfully in any event,” added the court.

“We are pleased that the Court of Appeal has recognised, in part, both the merits of Abbey’s arguments and the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal,” said an Abbey spokesperson.

“There are certain parts of the court’s judgement that are in favour of the claimant, and Abbey will give serious consideration as to whether it wishes to appeal any of these.”

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Written by Andrew Hodges

November 23, 2009 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Comment, LinkedIn

Tagged with , ,

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