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Douglas Borough Council - Employment Tribunal case


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39 minutes ago, Max Power said:

It’s a tough one though, if you don’t fight a claim because the legal representation costs are more than the initial claim (probably the vast majority of claims) then we would end up in even more of a culture claim situation.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Annoymouse said:

It’s a tough one though, if you don’t fight a claim because the legal representation costs are more than the initial claim (probably the vast majority of claims) then we would end up in even more of a culture claim situation.

 

 

Interesting that they give the cost breakdown but there's no factoring in of staff time.

The wider debate here probably is whether it was really worth taking 3500 quid off him.

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30 minutes ago, Max Power said:

It’s the legal duty of the advocate to give an estimate in advance and to update it. Or if they can’t give an estimate to update costs regularly.

If the Council had tried to instruct me I’d have written advising that as costs would not be recoverable in an Employment Tribunal  of this nature that if I took more than 10-15 hours it would cost more than the amount the council hoped to save.

As an advocate you have, or should have, a pretty good idea how many hours it’s going to take to prepare a defence, examine all the papers, decide which are relevant, research legal points, prepare witness statements, prepare a chronology and submissions, prepare for the hearing and attend the hearing and present the case.

No brainier to say, “There is no economic justification on a value for money basis for defending the case”

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33 minutes ago, Annoymouse said:

It’s a tough one though, if you don’t fight a claim because the legal representation costs are more than the initial claim (probably the vast majority of claims) then we would end up in even more of a culture claim situation.

 

 

Any business or individual would weigh up the costs before entering into a court action, no matter how strongly they felt that they were in the right. The difference here is that it wasn't their money, it was the ratepayer's, and there are no consequences for blowing their cash!

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1 hour ago, The Dog's Dangly Bits said:

Interesting that they give the cost breakdown but there's no factoring in of staff time.

The wider debate here probably is whether it was really worth taking 3500 quid off him.

whether they were legally  or procedurally correct in doing so is the real question .

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2 hours ago, John Wright said:

No brainier to say, “There is no economic justification on a value for money basis for defending the case”

I'm sure they were told that very thing, by their lawyer.  Rather than using their in-house legal 'expertise' they got in an employment law specialist from Callin Wild - I surprised they got away with £24k for a three day sitting - and they would be punctilious in making such things clear.  I imagine lots of raised eyebrows and weary explaining going on.

So this was always going to cost more than any possible 'savings'.  Even if they had won it would have been bad publicity for them, because of the pettiness of it, bullying a long-standing worker who had been the victim of the Covid crisis.  But they had no chance of winning especially given the way top management then chickened out of appearing at the Tribunal.

On little thing puzzles me about the FoI.  It says: The cost of the award to the employee was £1,672.36 and that entailed 12.8% Employer’s NI Contribution bringing the total to £1,886.  But although the award was equivalent to four weeks wages (the maximum that could be awarded in the circumstances), I would have thought it was paid as a lump sum and not subject to tax or NI (employers or employees) as it is not the same as normal wages.  Have they ironically gone and made illegal deductions?

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25 minutes ago, Roger Mexico said:

I'm sure they were told that very thing, by their lawyer.  Rather than using their in-house legal 'expertise' they got in an employment law specialist from Callin Wild - I surprised they got away with £24k for a three day sitting - and they would be punctilious in making such things clear.  I imagine lots of raised eyebrows and weary explaining going on.

So this was always going to cost more than any possible 'savings'.  Even if they had won it would have been bad publicity for them, because of the pettiness of it, bullying a long-standing worker who had been the victim of the Covid crisis.  But they had no chance of winning especially given the way top management then chickened out of appearing at the Tribunal.

On little thing puzzles me about the FoI.  It says: The cost of the award to the employee was £1,672.36 and that entailed 12.8% Employer’s NI Contribution bringing the total to £1,886.  But although the award was equivalent to four weeks wages (the maximum that could be awarded in the circumstances), I would have thought it was paid as a lump sum and not subject to tax or NI (employers or employees) as it is not the same as normal wages.  Have they ironically gone and made illegal deductions?

If that element represented wages the employee should have been paid, it is correct that it be treated as earnings and therefore subject to NI. Any compensation element would not be subject to NI.

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5 minutes ago, StrangeBrew said:

If that element represented wages the employee should have been paid, it is correct that it be treated as earnings and therefore subject to NI. Any compensation element would not be subject to NI.

That's my point - it wasn't.  It was the compensation element as far as I can see.  They were also obliged to pay back the money they had been stopping out of his wages as well (sorting the NI out on that will be fun).

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On 3/19/2021 at 6:17 PM, 2112 said:

A true leader would have packed in his post and let another clown take the reins. I think the chewing gum removal machine should take over as the council leader, at least it has a mind of its own. 

and, it would appear, not worth very much at all by all accounts

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4 hours ago, Annoymouse said:

It’s a tough one though, if you don’t fight a claim because the legal representation costs are more than the initial claim (probably the vast majority of claims) then we would end up in even more of a culture claim situation.

Absolutely. I know of more than one tribunal where the company has gone in knowing full well that it will cost a lot more to successfully defend than to settle, in cases where the claimant is obviously chancing their arm with a spurious "give me a few grand or I'll go to a tribunal" threat.

It's sort of a "don't negotiate with terrorists" stance, but for arseholes instead of terrorists.

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4 hours ago, Max Power said:

Any business or individual would weigh up the costs before entering into a court action, no matter how strongly they felt that they were in the right. The difference here is that it wasn't their money, it was the ratepayer's, and there are no consequences for blowing their cash!

It’s not about cost, it’s about principal, every Tom, Dick and Harry would be sticking in claims otherwise, the issue here is someone advised them (or at least made the decision) that it was a worthwhile case, when in reality a quick chat with MIRS would’ve been enough for them to realise they didn’t have a leg to stand on.

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