Costs Awards in the Absence of Proven Dishonesty

Costs Awards in the Absence of Proven Dishonesty

The questions of costs awards should always be in the back of a Claimant’s mind when submitted a claim against their employer. If the Employment Tribunal considers that a claim has been pursued maliciously vexatiously or otherwise unreasonably then they have the power to make a costs order against a Claimant requiring them to pay the Respondent’s costs of defending the claim.
This issue recently arose in the case of Ghosh v Nokia Siemens. Despite there being no express finding that the Claimant had been dishonest the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) considered whether it was perverse to make costs awards because she had behaved unreasonably in making a large number of unproven allegations of discrimination.
The EAT considered that this was not perverse in the circumstances.
The Claimant brought claims against her employer for unfair dismissal and discrimination in the Employment Tribunal. The discrimination claims were dismissed but she was successful in her claim for unfair dismissal. The Claimant was not awarded any compensation for her unfair dismissal claim due to the application of a Polkey deduction.
The Employment Tribunal considered that the breakdown in the working relationship between the Claimant and Respondent was wholly the fault of the Claimant and she was also considered to have contributed substantially to her own dismissal. The Tribunal did not believe that it was just or equitable to make any basic or compensatory award in favour of the Claimant due to her conduct.
The Tribunal found that the pursuit of serious allegations of race discrimination primarily against the Claimant’s line manager constituted unreasonable conduct and costs awards against her. There was no express finding that the Claimant was dishonest. However the EAT mentioned that they were of the view that the Employment Tribunal may have doubted her honesty.
The EAT held that despite there being no express finding of dishonesty the Employment Tribunal’s decision that the Claimant had behaved unreasonably was not a perverse one.
If you have been dismissed or been subjected to less favourable treatment because of your race or for any other reason please contact the the specialist employment team at Michael Lewin Solicitors and we can advise you whether we are able to assist you with a claim.
Written by Anthony Fox

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