Sacked banker wins £66,000

Posted: 19th September 2014

RCJA former banker whose tortuous brush with employment law earned him a damages award which failed even to cover his legal costs has won at least some recompense from a negligent law firm which admitted having let him down.

Russell Chweidan was purportedly made redundant following a grievance process and a long debate as to how he was to be deployed after he suffered spinal injuries during a work skiing trip. His claim for unlawful direct disability discrimination and unfair dismissal was initially successful and he was awarded more than £500,000.

However, his claims of unlawful direct and indirect age discrimination failed and the disability discrimination findings were subsequently overturned on appeal. He was ultimately left with an award of £68,000 for unfair dismissal and a costs bill that exceeded that sum.

The law firm which advised him, Mishcon de Reya, admitted that it had been negligent in failing to lodge a cross-appeal in respect of age discrimination issues with the Employment Appeal Tribunal within the time permitted. As a result he had lost the opportunity to pursue the cross-appeal, which stood more than a negligible chance of success.

The High Court found that, but for the firm's negligence, there would have been an 18 per cent chance of his age discrimination claims succeeding. On that basis, he was awarded £66,163 in damages, including interest. The Court rejected further arguments that the law firm had also been negligent in failing to advise on or explore the possibility of a claim based on a failure to make reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.