Stuart Peters v Bell 2009 EWCA Civ 938

Ms Bell was found to have been unfairly dismissed by her employer SPL. She had been constructively dismissed when resigning in response to her employer’s conduct which the Tribunal found had undermined the trust and confidence in the employment relationship. She was entitled to a 6 month contractual notice period.

The Tribunal found that she could effectively mitigate her loss by obtaining employment at the same level of remuneration at the end of her notice period. The compensatory loss was therefore limited to the loss suffered during her notice period. During this period she found temporary work for a different employer covering a period of some 3 months. SPL claimed that Ms Bell should give credit for those sums.

The Tribunal declined to offset these earnings against the compensatory award on the grounds that to do so would be inconsistent with the principle in Norton Tool that employers who summarily dismiss their employees should not be entitled to the benefit of sums earned by them during their notice period.

The Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that the Norton Tool principle does not extend to constructive dismissal claims and Ms Bell had to give credit for sums earned from other employment during the notice  period.

Key point: This case prevents the employee receiving windfall compensation in these narrow circumstances.