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Local Authority Finance Boss Unfairly Dismissed

A local authority’s former head of finance is in line for substantial compensation after he was unfairly forced out of his job – despite failing to convince the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that he was also a victim of sex discrimination.

The man had been suspended from his post after a female colleague accused him of sexual harassment. Disciplinary proceedings were twice adjourned after his doctor signed him off sick. However, he submitted his resignation after his employers refused to postpone the hearing for a third time.

An Employment Tribunal (ET) subsequently upheld his constructive unfair dismissal claim on the basis that his employers had breached their own policy in investigating the complaint and that the outcome had been pre-judged. His sex discrimination claim was also successful and he was awarded damages of £168,957.

In upholding the local authority’s appeal against the sex discrimination finding, the EAT ruled that there was no factual basis on which an inference could be drawn that he had been less favourably treated than an equivalent female employee would have been.

However, in upholding the finding of constructive unfair dismissal, the EAT ruled that the defects in the disciplinary procedure were such that they undermined the mutual trust and confidence required in any employment contract. The case was sent back to the ET for the man’s compensation to be recalculated.