How Laura Donnelly, Associate Solicitor in the Employment Team, helped an Eastbourne-based client win his claim for Race Discrimination.
Mr Stephens, a mixed race male, was dismissed from a large IT company due to allegations of gross misconduct during an annual conference. A senior staff member had accused the client of being rude and having a disrespectful attitude towards a third party when asking for directions earlier that day. A further two allegations were made relating to his conduct in the evening.
Mr Stephens appealed against this decision to try and get his job back but was unsuccessful. He believed that his dismissal was unfair due to a poor investigation process. He also believed that the nature of his former employer’s allegations, the lack of proper investigation and the dismissal, were motivated by his race.
Mr Stephens had less than 2 years’ service and did not have the right to make an unfair dismissal claim.
We estimated 3-5 hours of work to provide initial advice and assistance, including assessing the claim and helping with Acas Early Conciliation. We attempted to obtain a settlement via the Acas Early Conciliation process, but the employer refused to engage. We therefore estimated a further 5 hours to draft and issue the Tribunal claim.
We drafted and issued a race discrimination claim and dealt with the entire case management process in preparation for the final hearing.
We again attempted to obtain a settlement for the client to help reduce the cost and risk of going to a final hearing. However, the employer refused to engage in settlement discussions.
We provided a further estimate of £10,000 for our legal fees to deal with his claim, plus Counsel fees for dealing with the final hearing.
The employer issued a costs warning to try and make our client withdraw his claim as they felt the claim did not have reasonable prospects of success.
Junior Counsel were instructed to deal with his final hearing, which lasted 3 days. Our client was successful as the Judge decided that he had been racially stereotyped and the subsequent disciplinary process and dismissal were discriminatory.
Again, we attempted to agree a settlement on the level of compensation due but his former employer refused to do this.
A remedy hearing followed and the Claimant was awarded just over £26,000. This included an award for injury to feelings as this was a race discrimination claim.
Our legal fees were £8500 (excluding VAT) and Counsel’s fees for his 3 day hearing, plus remedy hearing, were £3000 (excluding VAT).
Our client’s total cost were £11,200 (excluding VAT) because the employer refused to negotiate and we would expect that their own legal fees were equal to this, if not a lot more.