An Employee’s claims were upheld in their entirety when her employer completely failed to engage in the tribunal process.
The facts in Ms Aggar v Bugle Yarmouth (IWO) Limited
Ms Aggar (the ‘Claimant’) was employed by the Respondent as an Assistant Manager. She was told her role was redundant and was offered an alternative role, which she rejected as being unsuitable. She was then dismissed and received a payment for the wages she was owed up until the date of dismissal and for some accrued, but untaken holiday. No proper process was followed prior to her dismissal. She brought claims in the Employment Tribunal (the ‘ET’) for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, failure to provide written particulars of employment and failure to pay a statutory redundancy payment.
The decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET)
Having gone through the early conciliation process, the Claimant issued her claim on 1 August 2018. The Respondent failed to respond and on 2 November 2018 the ET wrote to it to inform them that as no response had been received a judgment could be issued. The original hearing was relisted for a 1 hour hearing for the factual issues relating to remedy to be resolved at the hearing.
At the hearing, the Respondent was represented by their Financial Controller. Although he attended the hearing, he completely failed to engage in it. For example, the figures in the Claimant’s Schedule of Loss were not disputed and he failed to argue for a Polkey reduction (a reduction that came be made to a Claimant’s award for compensation for loss of earnings where a Respondent successfully argues that the Claimant would have been dismissed anyway even if a fair redundancy process had been followed).
Consequently, the Claimant was awarded all of the losses contained in her Schedule of Loss, except for her award for loss of statutory rights was reduced to £350, rather than the £500 she had claimed.
To summarise, the Claimant was awarded the following sums:
- Notice pay: £1,665.40
- Basic award: £3,173.10
- Compensatory award: £5,143.69
- Failure to provide written statement of particulars: £1,692.32
Our solicitors’ views on the case of Ms B Aggar v Bugle Yarmouth (IOW) Limited
Sacha Barrett, a Senior Associate in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: “this case demonstrates that where an employer fails to engage in the tribunal process, they can find themselves liable for not inconsiderable financial sums as a result. The tribunal process can be daunting and complex, especially for small employers or companies without a HR department so the importance of seeking outside legal counsel cannot be underestimated in those circumstances.”
The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Ms B Aggar v Bugle Yarmouth (IOW) Limited (1402889/2018) can be found here.