January 15, 2016

Moorepay tackles discrimination claim head on

Moorepay recently defended a large and well respected care trust in the Employment Tribunal against claims of race and disability discrimination presented by one of their ex-employees.

The Trust were very keen to defend the claim, not only to protect their well-established and excellent reputation, but also to protect the current and future contractual relationships they hold with various government agencies and local Councils.

Case background

When she was employed by the Trust, the employee who brought the claim had a period of unauthorised absence of around four weeks.  Despite trying to make contact with the employee through all methods of communication, the Trust’s efforts to contact went unanswered.

Using the advice and expertise of Moorepay’s Employment Law Advice Line, the Trust dismissed the employee for unauthorised absence.

After she had been dismissed, the now ex-employee claimed her absence was due to her having a need to travel abroad due to her disability and that she was unable to make contact with the Trust due to the same disability.

The preparation

The Employment Tribunal team at Moorepay were instructed to defend the claim and having submitted the ET3 Response Form to initially refute the claims, considerable time was spent preparing the case for a two – three day hearing.

This involved:

  • Obtaining all relevant documents
  • Speaking to relevant witnesses
  • Producing a large number of documents for the hearing bundle
  • Collecting individual witness statements to be used at the Employment Tribunal hearing.

Prior to the Employment Tribunal hearing, the Trust’s three witnesses were understandably very apprehensive.  Thanks to Moorepay spending time going through all the evidence with each witness, the questions they were likely have to address from the Employment Tribunal panel and the ex-employee and of how the Employment Tribunal process operated to determine the claim, the Trust’s witnesses were well prepared and ready for anything the ex-employee or Employment Tribunal panel could throw at them.

The hearing and outcome

The hearing, in which evidence was heard over two days, was a complete success for the Trust and the ex-employee’s claims were rejected by the Employment Tribunal.

The Tribunal panel court preferred the quality and consistency of the verbal evidence given by each of the Trust’s witnesses, but also the documentary evidence that supported the Trust’s witnesses version of events.

The documentary evidence was various written procedures (drafted with the assistance of the Moorepay Policy team) such as the absence reporting and disciplinary procedures and various letters drafted by the Trust with the assistance of the Moorepay Employment Law Advice Line.

The benefits

The legal costs in the case were in the order of £10,000 with the potential compensation (had the defence failed) being well over £20,000.

Thanks to the FCA Regulated Legal Expenses Insurance which Moorepay provide to its customers via an independent insurer and the support of the Moorepay Employment Law Policy, Advice Line and Employment Tribunal teams, the client didn’t pay out a penny in legal costs or compensation and they successfully defended the claim!

This case highlights a number of Employment Law services Moorepay is able to provide and the benefits of having an intendent FCA Regulated Legal Expenses Insurance policy supporting your business. Overall, a fantastic result for the Trust and Moorepay, but not so fantastic for the ex-employee!

If you need help or advice on any aspect of payroll or HR, contact us to find out how we can support your business.

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About the author

Andrew Weir

Andrew has a wealth of experience in advising and representing clients of all shapes and sizes in a range of Employment Law topics from unfair dismissal through to all forms of discrimination and the complexities of TUPE. Andrew heads up our Advice Line and Advocacy teams who provide Employment Law advice to our clients 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and support our clients in presenting defences at Employment Tribunals throughout the UK & Ireland.