Settlement Agreements and the EAT

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently been clarified by the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal were dealing with an appeal by an ex-employee against the EAT’s decision. The case revolved around a claim for victimisation made by an ex-employee. The claim was successful in the Employment Tribunal but the employer appealed to the EAT. The Employer’s appeal was successful. The EAT did not remit the case to the Tribunal as we would normally expect and instead ruled that the victimisation claim had failed. The employee then appealed this decision on the basis that the EAT ought to have remitted the matter back to the Employment Tribunal.

The appeal was allowed by the Court of Appeal based on the fact that the Employment Tribunal’s conclusions were open to interpretation. However, the Court of Appeal made it very clear that the role of the EAT was to assess the lawfulness of the Tribunal’s decision and not to make it own decisions on the merits of the case. In the decision, the Court of Appeal stated that the EAT must remit a case unless (i) the Employment Tribunal’s original error would not have changed the decision or (ii) where an error would have affected the decision, the findings of the original Tribunal would allow the EAT to determine what the proper result would have been.

This case demonstrates the twists and turns that can be involved in Employment Tribunal litigation.

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