08 August 2011 #Employment
An employer who successfully defended an Employment Tribunal Claim has been awarded a record £100,000 in costs against the Claimant in the case.
The female employee had brought a claim of sexual discrimination and harassment, alleging that her boss had subjected her to offensive and degrading comments including discussing breast sizes and calling her a sexy nurse.
The Tribunal found her complaints to be unfounded and found in the employer`s favor. The Tribunal has the power to award costs of up to £10,000 if the paying party has in bringing the proceedings, or he/she or his/her representative has in conducting the proceedings, acted vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably, or the bringing or conducting of the proceedings by the paying party has been misconceived. If the Tribunal thinks costs of over £10,000 should be awarded then the costs will be subject to a detailed assessment in the County Court.
Tim Watts, chairman of the respondent company said after the judgment "I`m not bothered about the money... 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... Basically, going to the tribunal`s seen as an easy bung. You know there`s going to be a good couple of grand in it for you. Why wouldn`t you do it? It costs you b***** all, and everything`s on your side... I could have shrugged all this off and settled, but it`s my reputation at stake. It`s more than that. It`s how we do business in this country."