AFR Advocates


Guernsey: 9 October 2013 - Drastic reduction of unfair dismissal award by Employment Tribunal

In a recent decision, the Employment Tribunal recently made a drastic reduction in an award for damages for unfair dismissal awarded to an employee.

The case concerned the dismissal of an employee for “conduct issues”. The Tribunal found that whilst the dismissal was justified, based on the employee's conduct and behaviour, the employer had unfairly dismissed the employee, as it failed to follow all of the stages of its disciplinary procedure.

Ordinarily, a successful claim for unfair dismissal entitles the applicant to six months’ pay. However, the Tribunal is expressly conferred a discretion, which it has used in previous cases, to reduce an award (including to zero) if it considers it is “just and equitable” to do so. In this case, assessing the award for damages, the Tribunal held that it simply could not ignore the significant contribution the employee’s behaviour had in her dismissal, and thus exercised its discretion to reduce the award by 95%.

This case highlights the circumstances in which the Tribunal may exercise its discretion to reduce an award to ensure that the outcome is just and equitable, and the extent to which it will do so in extreme cases.