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Claimant ordered to pay £432,000 costs for making frivolous claims

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Tan v Copthorne Hotels Ltd an ET ordered T to pay £432,001.85 costs to Copthorne Hotels after it rejected all of his claims. The costs judgment does not indicate why the amount was ordered but it appears that it stems from the frivolous nature of T’s case and the unreasonable way it was presented. For example: (i) the only act of alleged racial harassment was that a colleague, Dr Wu, told T to be more like Chinese, but the comment was made in the context of their close friendship in a telephone call and was part of their familiar friendly dialogue; (ii) given T’s concession in oral evidence that the dismissing officer did not know about his protected acts (allegations of discrimination) when he made the decision to dismiss, then the victimisation claim had no foundation; (iii) even though the ET found T was fairly dismissed for redundancy, it would have found that T would have been dismissed in any event as soon as the employer found out about the making of his covert recordings, as this was duplicitous and undermining of the relationship of trust and confidence between the parties. Finally, the weakness of T’s evidence meant that the burden of proof did not pass to the respondent in the age, race, sexual orientation victimisation and harassment claims.

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