[Thanks to Kathleen Donnelly of Henderson Chambers for providing this case summary]
The EAT (Wilkie J) has handed down its decision in St Andrew’s Catholic School v Blundell. The case concerned the victimisation of a teacher over a 4 month period, culminating in her dismissal. The Tribunal awarded £22,000 injury to feelings, £5,000 aggravated damages, 5 years loss of future earnings, and recommended the Respondent send a letter to all parents and teachers stating that the headmistress accepted all criticism of the Claimant’s teaching ability was unfounded.
The EAT’s judgement is an interesting source of reading on remedies in SDA cases. In particular, it:
- reduced compensation for injury to feelings to £14,000. The judgment includes a helpful review of some post-Vento mid- to upper-range authorities;
- upheld the aggravated damages award on the basis of the manner in which the Respondent conducted the remedies hearing, criticising the Claimant’s teaching ability, contrary to the evidence presented at the liability hearing;
- upheld the award in principle of 5 years future loss of earnings; and,
- held that the terms of the tribunal’s recommendation should be amended so as not to require the headmistress to make statements with which she (“however wrongheaded”) does not agree.
Comment from Ray Parsons:-
Taking individual cases out of context to justify a decision in any individual doctor’s situation may not be helpful. ET and EAT decisions on similar facts tend to be made in opposite directions even on the same day in different ET hearings in different parts of the country. Thus there is much less consistency with regard to precedent in ET/EAT decisions which means that the result as we have seen in both Otto Chan’s case and Shirine Boardman’s case can be quite unpredictable.