Start as you mean to go wrong

Unfortunately not even solicitors are immune to getting employment, and employment law, badly wrong.

In Majid v AA Solicitors & Ali the Employment Appeal Tribunal recounted a particularly unfortunate case where things went wrong from the outset, when the solicitor concerned apparently proposed marriage while interviewing a young female paralegal. He apparently then described her as ‘very stocky’ and touched her arms saying that she had muscles.

Having offered her a job he then made a series of further unwanted advances, for example, inviting her to the cinema and suggesting installing a double bed in the office. When these advances were rejected the solicitor then ‘turned nasty’ and ultimately dismissed the employee.

The appeal itself was concerned with the level of compensation awarded to the employee. Among other things the tribunal awarded £14,000 in respect of injury to feelings which was challenged as being manifestly excessive.

However, although the Employment Appeal Tribunal accepted that the award was ‘perhaps on the high side’, acknowledging the limited nature of the appeal jurisdiction, it declined to interfere with the award. A reminder to employers that discrimination cases can be very costly affairs.

Dominic Bonham