G4S Services v Rondeau UKEAT/0207/09/DA

In this case Mr Rondeau was ordered to pay his former employer’s costs in the sum of £3,420 as he had previously refused to accept offers of settlement in the same terms as those which were finally accepted at the door of the court. This was held to be unreasonable conduct.

The EAT held that by not accepting the initial offer and/or failing to make a reasonable counter-offer was unreasonable conduct which justified a cost award even in the EAT which like the employment tribunal is normally cost free. A party is entitled to resist an appeal unless and until there is an outcome or an offer which requires consideration. Making and considering offers is “part and parcel of any litigation proceedings”. The Court put the blame for not accepting the offer earlier on the shoulders of Mr Rondeau’s advisers. Mr Rondeau had already received an interim payment of £30,000 from his employers for which the tribunal found them liable. The tribunal ordered no further sum was payable.

Key point: Parties to employment litigation and their advisers should note this case and that failing to make a reasonable counter-offer may amount to unreasonable conduct and have costs consequences.