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News Update

November 2018

The Court of Appeal hold that two directors who dismissed an employee for whistleblowing were personally liable for a detriment amounting to dismissal and were also liable, with the employer, to pay £2m compensation.

The Court of Appeal rule that Morrisons were vicariously liable for a former employee's actions is disclosing the personal data of 5,000 employees; there was a seamless connection between his work and the disclosure.

The Government have published a report summarising the data that employers reported under the first year of mandatory Gender Pay Gap reporting, with 77% revealing that men were paid more than women.

A new EHRC survey has found that despite 74% of people agreeing that there should be equality for all groups, 42% of Britons have experienced some form of prejudice in the last 12 months.

Directors personally liable for whistleblowing dismissal and paying £2m compensation

S. 47B of the Employment Rights Act 1996 makes an individual worker liable for subjecting a colleague to a detriment for whistleblowing, as well the employer being liable itself. In Timis and Sage v Osipov, two IPL directors, Timis (T) and Sage (S) summarily dismissed Osipov (O). An ET upheld O’s claim that: (i) he was unfairly dismissed for whistleblowing, having disclosed that T and S were involved in serious wrongdoing; and, (ii) T and S had subjected O to the detriment of dismissal contrary to S. 47B of the ERA 1996. The ET decided that T and S were jointly and severally liable, with IPL, for compensation totalling £1,744.575.56. The EAT upheld the ET’s decision, agreeing that both directors were personally liable to pay compensation, which was recalculated at £2,003,972.35. The Court of Appeal agreed with the EAT. An employee can bring a claim against an individual co-worker for being subjected to the detriment of dismissal and a claim based on such a distinct prior detrimental act done by a co-worker allows for recovery from that worker for losses flowing from the dismissal.

Morrisons vicariously liable for former employee's actions in disclosing personal data of 5,000 employees

In WM Morrison Supermarkets PLC v Various Claimants, Skelton (S), an auditor, had a grudge against Morrisons because of what he perceived to be unfair disciplinary action against him. He copied payroll data relating to 99,998 Morrisons’ employees to a USB stick and then posted their personal details online. S sent a CD containing a copy of the data to three newspapers, who did not publish it, but told Morrisons, who took the website down. The High Court upheld a claim by 5,518 employees that Morrisons was vicariously liable for S’s wrongful conduct as his role was to handle payroll data and there had been a seamless and continuous sequence of events involving the planning and disclosure of the data, meaning there was a sufficiently close connection between S’s job and his wrongful conduct to make Morrisons vicariously liable. The Court of Appeal dismissed Morrisons’ appeal. S had planned the data disclosure process which was not disconnected by time, place and nature from his employment. There was an uninterrupted thread that linked his work to the disclosure and Morrisons was vicariously liable.

Government report reveals gender pay gap reporting data

The Government have published a report summarising the data that employers reported under the first year of the Gender Pay Gap (GPG) reporting regulations. All 10,252 organisations within the scope of the reporting requirement reported their GPGs by 1 August 2018. 77% of median GPGs show that men were paid more than women, 14% show men were paid less than women, and 9% reported that men and women were paid the same.

A new EHRC survey shows Britain's conflicting attitudes towards equality

A new EHRC survey has found that despite 74% of people agreeing that there should be equality for all groups, 42% of Britons have experienced some form of prejudice in the last 12 months. The survey reveals that more people openly expressed negative feelings towards Gypsies, Roma and Travellers (44%), Muslims (22%) and transgender people (16%), than towards gay, lesbian and bisexual people (9%), people aged over 70 (4%) and disabled people with a physical impairment (3%). The survey also highlighted that 34% viewed physically impaired people with pity and 25% expressed discomfort with having a person with a mental health condition as their boss.


This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and help judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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