Reporting of Cases in the Employment Tribunal

Newspaper can report on employment claim against Sir Elton John

In most cases in the Employment Tribunal members of the public are allowed to attend to watch and they are also open to the press.

In a case brought against Sir Elton John by a former employee who was claiming unfair dismissal and sex discrimination, which included allegations of sexual misconduct, a Restricted Reporting Order was obtained to keep the details from being reported however when the case was settled News Group Newspapers Limited applied to have the Order discharged. The Employment Tribunal agreed and the Order was discharged.

On appeal the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the Tribunal’s Order discharging the Restricted Reporting Order.

What does this mean?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal said that the tribunal had the jurisdiction to consider the Restricted Reporting Order notwithstanding the fact that the claims had been withdrawn on settlement. It also said that the Restricted Reporting Order did not expire automatically upon withdrawal of the claim. In this case there was no error of law or principle in the balancing exercise conducted by the tribunal and, therefore, there was no reason to interfere with the tribunal’s conclusion that the privacy orders should be revoked.

What should employers do?

Employers involved in high profile cases, the reporting of which could be damaging to their business, would be wise to consider the possibility of settlement as early as possible and ensure that any settlement reached is accompanied by confidentiality provisions.

Fallows and others v News Group Newspapers Limited – Employment Appeal Tribunal

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