Sibbit v The Governing Body of St Cuthbert’s Catholic Primary School UKEAT/0070/10

The case illustrates the approach to be followed by a tribunal when using the Guidance to Tribunals on Assessment on Compensation for Pension Loss in making the decision as to whether it is a simplified the substantial loss approach which should be followed.

Ms Sibbit was a teacher and was dismissed on the grounds of gross misconduct by the school when she was 58. She was intending to retire within 12 months’ of her dismissal. Then she would have had one further year’s pensionable service. The tribunal found her to be unfairly dismissed and awarded her pension loss in accordance with a simplified loss. She appealed saying her loss should be calculated on the substantial loss approach.

The guidelines state that the substantial loss approach may be chosen in cases where the person dismissed has been in the Respondent’s employment for a considerable time, where the employment was of a stable nature and unlikely to be affected by the economic cycle and where the person dismissed had reached an age where he (or she) is less likely to be looking for new pastures. Ms Sibbit met these criteria according to the EAT and the figure awarded to her for pension loss was increased accordingly from £5,427 to £9,797.

Key point: The case is a useful reminder for employers of what compensation could be agreed and paid for loss of future pension rights using the pension data and Tables.