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Sheriff v Kline Tuggs

7 September 2000
The issues

Henderson v Henderson – Just and Equitable. Whether the Claimant who had brought a claim in one tribunal should be allowed to bring a claim in another tribunal.

The facts

The Claimant has brought proceedings in an Employment Tribunal for unlawful racial discrimination under the Race Relations Act 1976.

The Claimant alleged that he had been subjected to racial harassment, abuse, intimidation and bullying at the hands of the Master of the “Anglian Salvor” when he was employed as an Engineer on that vessel.

The case was adjourned and part heard and a settlement was made. The Respondent in the Tribunal proceedings did not admit liabilty but paid £4,000.00 in full and final settlement of all claims for which an Industrial Tribunal had jurisdiction.

The Appellant then commenced a claim in the Norwich County Court for damages and personal injury caused by the racial discrimination and abuse of treatment. The claim was almost in the identical form of that which had been before the Tribunal and was struck out on the basis that it had been brought in breach of the earlier agreement of settlement.

The decision

Under the 1976 Act there was an exclusive jurisdiction granted to the Employment Tribunal in respect of discrimination. It could order damages to be paid that could have been ordered by any County Court with the added condition that it had to be just and equitable to make the order.

The principle was that the Claimant was entitled to be compensated in the Employment Tribunal for loss and damage actually sustained as a result of the statutory tort (see Ministry of Defence v Wheeler 1998).

Both Tribunal and County Court could therefore award damages for personal injury caused by the tort. In which Court the claim was to be brought was a question of causation of the injury. In this case the claim was for an injury which had been sustained by the Appellant arising out of his employment and in respect of which the Tribunal had jurisdiction. The settlement agreement therefore applied and the claim could not be re-litigated.

Public policy dictated that claims that could or should have been litigated in one Tribunal should not be allowed to be litigated in another. The Appellant could have brought his whole claim for compensation in the Employment Tribunal but had not done so.

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