The EAT has held that in circumstances where an unfairly dismissed Claimant had otherwise successfully mitigated her losses to the extent of securing a higher salary and membership of a money purchase pension scheme, her loss of membership of a final salary pension scheme was a loss of a "unique benefit" that warranted an award of compensation.
In Roberts v Aegon UK Corporate Services Limited, the EAT considered an appeal by the employer against an award of compensation made to the Claimant whom it had been held was unfairly selected for redundancy.
Ms Roberts had been dismissed from Aegon with effect from 15th January 2007 but had successfully secured alternative employment which began that same day which, pension aside, came with a remuneration package worth £136 net per week more than her employment with Aegon had provided. That employment in fact ended before February 2008, when the Employment Tribunal convened to consider the appropriate compensation for her unfair dismissal by Aegon, but the Tribunal considered it likely that Ms Roberts would secure comparable employment within 6 months save for membership of a final salary pension which it considered it was unlikely she would secure, by reason of what expert evidence described to be a growing trend among employers away from such schemes.
The EAT, upholding the Employment Tribunal's judgment, concluded that the Employment Tribunal was "...entitled to form the view that the loss of the final salary pension scheme was a very significant factor which could not be quantified in purely monetary terms. In our view the Tribunal were entitled to differentiate between the purely arithmetic exercise in comparing the remuneration packages of the two employments...and to differentiate those from the significant loss of pension rights...It is well known that in a final salary scheme the risk is on the employer and the reverse is true as far as a money purchase scheme is concerned and we are quite certain that it was in particular that element of risk the Tribunal must have had in mind."
This case again demonstrates the valuable and increasingly irreplaceable benefit that final salaries provide and the potential for very large awards of compensation where ex-employees lose the benefit of such a scheme.