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.
News from Addleshaw Goddard
News from The Lawyer
Briefings from Addleshaw Goddard
Data Issues Roundup — new Irish data protection commissioner appointed; Racing Post falls short on IT security; and more
Addleshaw Goddard has released the 15 September 2014 issue of its Data Issues Roundup publication.
The Court of Appeal in has considered the effect of a lease provision requiring a repeat guarantee as a condition of landlord’s consent on intragroup assignment.
Analysis from The Lawyer
Could Slater & Gordon achieve its stated aim of becoming a top consumer brand by acquiring Pannone?
The past five years have not been easy for Addleshaw Goddard. The firm’s revenue fell 7 per cent from £173.1m to £161.9m between 2008/09 and 2010/11 and despite finances looking up in 2011/12, when Addleshaws reported a 30 per cent increase in net profit, it has shown no notable compound growth in turnover since 2007/08.