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Failure to Comply with the ACAS Code of Practice

24 May 2013, 10:00 by Priya Bakshi

Labels: acas-code, barrister, complensation, employment-appeal-tribunal, employment-law, employment-tribunal, lawyer, solicitor

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held in the case of Lund v St Edmund's School that the increase in compensation due to a breach of the ACAS Code of Practice applies to "some other substantial reason" dismissals.

Mr Lund was a school teacher and was dismissed as the school had lost confidence in him, through alienating his colleagues and affecting morale. The Employment Tribunal (ET) found that his dismissal was for "some other substantial reason," but was procedurally and substantively unfair; thus failing to act in accordance with the ACAS Code.

Mr Lund was awarded compensation but this was reduced on ground of contributory fault. However the ET made no uplift for the breach of the ACAS Code under section 207A of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 for two reasons: Mr Lund's dismissal had been for "some other substantial reason", and he had "contributed so substantially to his own dismissal". Mr Lund appealed on this point.

On appeal, the EAT held that Mr Lund should not have been denied an uplift on his compensation award. Firstly, the employee's claim did concern conduct on his part, namely the effect of his conduct on others. This is what led to his dismissal and so, the ACAS Code applied. Secondly, when considering whether to make an uplift on the compensation award for an employer failing to comply with the ACAS Code, the ET should not have taken into account contributory fault. Mr Lund may have contributed to his dismissal but he did not contribute to his employer's failure to act in accordance with the ACAS Code. To deny him an uplift on the remainder of his compensatory award amounted to him being penalised twice over.



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