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30 July 2012
Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)
An employment tribunal claim on behalf of a deceased employee may only be brought after the employee's personal representative has been appointed by the tribunal. The compensation can include the payout under a life assurance scheme which would have been made if the deceased employee had not been dismissed.
F was dismissed. He died shortly afterwards. His father submitted an unfair dismissal and disability discrimination complaint to the tribunal. In the claim form, the father applied to be appointed as personal representative. The tribunal appointed him as representative but outside the three-month time limit for presenting complaints. The father then submitted a duplicate claim.
The EAT held that the claim should not have been submitted until the father was appointed representative. The first claim was therefore a nullity. But the duplicate claim was allowed to proceed because it was not reasonably practicable for the father to present the claim in time.
The father also argued that, if F had not been dismissed, his employment would have continued and he would have retained the benefit of his employer's life assurance scheme. That would have paid out about £85,000 to F's estate. The employers argued that compensation is meant to represent the loss suffered by the employee - not the loss to the beneficiaries of a life assurance policy. The tribunal agreed but the EAT held that F himself had lost the benefit of that payout because he had contracted for it; and it was not excluded by the rule that no compensation can be awarded for loss of income for a period after death (s 1(2)(a)(ii) of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1934) because an insurance payout is not income.
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