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Approach to Calculating Compensation

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In Adey-Jones v O'Dowd, the EAT has considered the approach to calculating a compensatory award.

Mrs O'Dowd worked in a care home run by Mrs Adey-Jones. A police investigation and internal disciplinary proceedings into suggestions that she was stealing from a patient led to Mrs O'Dowd being dismissed. Mrs O'Dowd denied the allegations and none of them were ever proved. She found new work (at lower pay) but soon became ill and had to leave that job as well.

An employment tribunal found the dismissal unfair. Awarding compensation for loss of future earnings, it concluded that the dismissal process was at least one cause of her illness, and thus included a sum to fully cover Mrs O'Dowd's losses during her sick absence. On this remedies point Mrs Adey-Jones appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal and remitted the matter back to the same tribunal for further consideration.

HHJ Serota noted that Mrs O'Dowd's illness started some 20 weeks after dismissal, and there were ongoing investigations by the police and the local council. This must all be taken into consideration "in determining whether it could be said that it was sufficiently caused by the actions of [Mrs Adey-Jones] as would justify a finding that [she] was responsible for the illness and consequently for the loss of earnings...". Furthermore there should not be an 'all-or-nothing approach' but one that takes into account the percentage to which the employer's actions are responsible for the illness as against the other factors.

[Thanks to for allowing me to use their summary of this case]