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Caterham redundancies and the unlikely connection between employment and libel law
In his blog for LawInSport, Nicholas Goodfellow discusses the connection between employment law and libel law in the context of the Caterham redundancies.
It is rare for the areas of employment and libel law to become interlinked, but in the world of sport, one should perhaps expect the unexpected. It is an old adage in sport that attack is the best means of defence. That is the approach that the Caterham F1 team (“the Team”) seems to have taken, when faced with the announcement that over 40 of its former staff who were made redundant (“the Affected Staff”), plan to sue for unfair dismissal.
THE STATEMENT BY THE AFFECTED STAFF
A recent statement released on behalf of some or all of the Affected Staff stated inter alia that:
“The summary dismissal of employees from Caterham was done without warning or consultation and will result in significant compensation claims against the team. Caterham has also reneged on promises that the employees would at least be paid in July. Lawyers for the group will take immediate action…“
The response from the Team was prompt and emphatic, the very next day describing the statement by the Affected Staff as a “gross misrepresentation of the facts”.
- the Team’s statement explains that it is taking legal action for the “damages suffered” by the Team as a result. The Team takes issue with two aspects of the statement by the Affected Staff:
- the claim that the staff had been released by the Caterham F1 team, as opposed to a different entity, which is said to employ the staff; andthe claim that the staff were not paid in July.
Both statements are said by the Team to be incorrect. On the payment issue, the Team states that:
“Every individual currently employed by Caterham F1 Team was paid their July salary in full on 25th July, one week before it is formally due on the last day of the month, in this case 31stJuly…”