Can injury to feelings be awarded in a claim of detriment for asserting working time rights?
Yes, held the EAT in South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue v Mansell.
The Claimants were firefighters. A new shift system was introduced at their station, without variation of the collective agreement with their union, and which provided inadequate rest breaks. When they all refused to work the new system, they were transferred to another station. The tribunal found that the transfer amounted to a detriment for asserting their working time rights, contrary to sections 45A and 48 of the ERA. It awarded injury to feelings for the claims but the fire service appealed.
The fire service argued that no injury to feelings should be awarded while the Claimants relied on other detriment cases to argue that it should. The EAT held that because the remedy is set by s 49 of the ERA, the same section as for other detriment cases, injury to feelings is potentially available. Whether it is appropriate to make an award in a particular case is a question of fact.
Thanks to James Medhurst of Fieldfisher for preparing this case summary.