Supreme Court rules that contractual damages cannot be recovered for manner of dismissal losses
In an important decision, the Supreme Court has ruled that an employee cannot bring a breach of contract claim for losses flowing from the manner of dismissal even where the dismissal is in breach of an express contractual disciplinary procedure. The statutory unfair dismissal regime provides for compensation in these circumstances, and the ordinary principles that govern breach-of-contract damages do not apply. Contractual damages can only be recovered where the breach precedes and is independent of the dismissal process (Edwards v Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust; Botham v Ministry of Defence).
When an employer breaches an employment contract, ordinarily, like with any other contract, the employee can recover damages for losses flowing from that breach. However, in the leading case of Johnson v Unisys, the House of Lords said that contractual claims for breach of the implied term of trust and confidence in the manner of dismissal cannot be brought as Parliament has already provided a statutory remedy for unfair dismissal. This exception from normal breach-of-contract principles has become known as the Johnson exclusion area.
Claims for contractual damages relating to breaches that are separate to and independent of the dismissal, such as an act of suspension, fall outside the Johnson exclusion area, and can be brought. This distinction can lead to arguments as to whether or not the particular breach is connected to or independent of the dismissal…
Click on the link below to read the rest of the Addleshaw Goddard briefing.
Sign in or Register to continue reading this article
It's quick, easy and free!
It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.Register now
Why register to The Lawyer
In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.
Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.
Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.
More relevant to you
To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.
News from Addleshaw Goddard
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Addleshaw Goddard
There are a number of issues companies should consider now so as to prepare themselves for the changes.
The National Audit Office notes that although private finance typically costs twice as much as public finance, it “can represent value for money”
Analysis from The Lawyer
Which firms are cutting it in this era of slimline rosters, and who are the GC new brooms making clean sweeps? The Lawyer can reveal all
Could Slater & Gordon achieve its stated aim of becoming a top consumer brand by acquiring Pannone?