Are employment tribunal claims now the preserve of high earners?

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Are employment tribunal claims now the preserve of high earners?

July 25th, 2016, Blog
Talking About Employment Law

Hedge fund manager sacked from his £640k job days after motor neurone disease diagnosis

Michael Johnson is claiming unfair dismissal and disability discrimination against his former employer, Fortress Investment Group.  Fortress are relying on their lack of knowledge of Mr Johnson’s disability as a defence to the claim and maintain he was dismissed for poor performance.  If Mr Johnson is successful in his disability discrimination case, he would be entitled to compensation for loss of earnings with no fixed maximum limit compared to a successful unfair dismissal claim which is capped at just under £79k.  This would amount to one and a half months pay in respect of Mr Johnson’s reported salary of £640k per year.

Mr Johnson’s case and that of former Chelsea doctor, Eva Carneiro suggests that tribunal cases involving long hearings and expensive lawyers are now the preserve of the high earners – a far cry from the early industrial tribunal days when most cases were dealt with in one day with representation by personnel officers and trade union officials.

Before 1994, discrimination claims were kept to the same level for compensation as unfair dismissal.  However, following a European Court of Justice decision which provided that the UK did not provide an effective remedy for discrimination claims, the limit was removed.

As much of UK discrimination law now goes further than EU requirements, it is unlikely that the cap on discrimination claims would be reinstated assuming Brexit goes ahead.  It is, however, mainly high earners who benefit  from the unlimited cap as most discrimination awards are well below £79k.

A former army officer who was sacked from his £640,000-a-year job as a hedge fund manager days after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease is suing his former employers for disability discrimination.

Michael Johnson, 56, is seeking a multi-million pound payout from Fortress Investment Group.

The former British Army officer claims that by the time he was told things were ‘not working out’ in July last year he was already showing signs of the degenerative condition, which damages the nervous system and causes muscle weakness.

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