The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that employees can pursue an unfair dismissal claim even though no compensation may be awarded, provided the claim has a reasonable prospect of success.
In Evans v London Borough of Brent, Dr Evans brought a claim against his employer (a school) for unfair dismissal following his dismissal by reason of his gross misconduct.
The Employment Tribunal struck out his claim as there was no prospect of him receiving any compensation. It held that the unfair dismissal claim had no reasonable prospect of success except that there was a question as to whether the employer had followed a fair process in respect of the dismissal. Dr Evans could therefore not pursue his claim. He appealed against this decision to the EAT.
On appeal, The EAT concluded that the claim should not be struck out. It could not be said that just because there was a likelihood that no compensation would be awarded, a finding of unfair dismissal was of no value or that the interests of justice could not require that the employer be held to account, and be put to the cost of defending the claim. A finding that an employee’s employment law rights have been infringed is of benefit to an employee.
This case highlights that even if a claim is of low value, it can be allowed to proceed causing time and money to be spent on defending claims to minimise the reputational impact of a finding of unfair dismissal by the employer.
Please note that this information is for guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking full legal advice on specific facts and circumstances.