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Employment Law: The Cost of Lying Litigants

View profile for Paul Burton
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2009 saw the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) deal with two particularly poignant cases relating to the award of costs.

Firstly, in the case of Dunedin Canmore Housing Association v Donaldson it was held that the Employment Tribunal should have awarded costs where the claimant’s assertions that she had not disclosed details of her compromise agreement in breach of a confidentiality clause were false. The EAT held that the claimant being a lay person was irrelevant – what mattered was whether or not she had, in simple human terms, approached the essential factual matters that lay at the heart of her case, honestly and reasonably.

The second case of Daleside Nursing Home Ltd v Mathew again saw the EAT conclude that it was perverse for a tribunal not to award costs where the central allegation of racial abuse was a lie.

Another recent judgment from the EAT suggests, even more bluntly, that a claimant who lies in the Employment Tribunal should be ordered to pay the respondent’s costs. On the facts of Nicolson Highlandwear Ltd v Nicolson, the EAT made an order that a claimant who had defrauded his employer should have to pay the respondent’s costs for, basically, having the cheek to bring a tribunal claim. An additional point of interest here was that a claimant cannot argue he was acting reasonably in bringing a claim because he simply wanted a ‘declaration’ of unfair dismissal rather than compensation.

Please contact us if you need any advice if you feel you need to make a claim against your employer, or if you are an employer facing a claim from an employee. We offer a free, no obligation initial meeting to discuss the likely outcomes so you can decide how you should proceed.