Tribunal award of £4.5m compensation for sex and race discrimination

by Laurie Anstis on December 15, 2011

In what must be one of the largest awards of its kind, if not the largest ever tribunal award, an employment tribunal has awarded compensation of £4.5m in the case of Michalak v Mid Yorkshire Hospitals. This case concerned a hospital consultant who had been left suffering from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder following sex and race discrimination at the hospital, with a medical expert saying that she would be unlikely to be able to work in a professional capacity again.

In a stark reminder of the strength of discrimination law, the award was made jointly and severally against the employer and three individual respondents, meaning that the claimant could pursue the individuals responsible for the discrimination for the £4.5m compensation.

Also notable in the judgment is an award for the cost of care arising out of the claimant’s injury, and the effect of “grossing up” almost doubling the award.

This may also be the only employment tribunal judgment to cite John Lennon: “Life is what happens to you whilst you are busy making other plans”.

Update: looks like someone has posted the original liability decision online here.

3 comments

[…] December 2011 (2)November 2011 (1)October 2011 (4)September 2011 (1)August 2011 (3)July 2011 (2)June 2011 (3)May 2011 (5)April 2011 (1)February 2011 (5)January 2011 (10)December 2010 (1)November 2010 (6)October 2010 (1)August 2010 (3)July 2010 (1) In what must be one of the largest awards of its kind, if not the largest ever tribunal award, an employment tribunal has awarded compensation of £4.5m in the case of Michalak v Mid Yorkshire Hospitals. This case concern a … Continue reading → […]

by Tribunal award of £4.5m compensation for sex and race discrimination - Laurie Anstis - Member Blogs - HR Blogs - HR Space from Personnel Today and Xpert HR on 15 December 2011 at 2:23 pm. #

Looks like a really interesting discussion of discrimination damages (for those who find that sort of thing interesting – sadly I do).

Useful discussion (paras 32-45) of the relationship between injury to feelings, psychiatric injury and aggravated damages. Also unusual example of exemplary (i.e. punitive) damages being awarded in the sum of £4,000, because the NHS employer was exercising a quasi governmental function and had abused it (paras 47-52).

Also, uplift for deliberate breach of statutory procedure was reduced due to the sheer size of the award. The tribunal “would have had no hesitation” in awarding the max 50% uplift were it not for the fact that the award was so high that (when grossed up) this would mean paying an extra £3million, which “would be wholly disproportionate and would not command public respect”. It therefore reduced it to 15%. I would think similar principles would apply to an uplift for breach of the Acas Code post April 2009.

by Mark Tarran on 15 December 2011 at 3:36 pm. #

[…] of tax due on any payment. This can have a significant effect. To take an extreme example, in the Michalak case, just over £2m of the £4.5m awarded was accounted for by […]

by The £30,000 tax exemption for termination payments | Work/Life/Law on 22 March 2012 at 10:40 pm. #