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Employment Tribunal can restrict reporting of a case in interests of human rights after claim is withdrawn

CA, RA, RB and RC v News Group Newspapers Ltd (Appeal No. UKEAT/0075/16/RN
 
An employment tribunal can make a restricted reporting order (RRO) which prevents or restricts disclosure to the public of any aspect of proceedings, where necessary to protect rights under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).  An employment tribunal must give full weight to the principle of open justice and to the right of freedom of expression.
 
The respondents (RA – a celebrity, RB and RC) had employed the applicant (CA) as a hairdresser.  He was dismissed and brought claims of unfair dismissal and sex discrimination against them.  The respondents applied for privacy orders under the Employment Tribunals Regulations, perhaps due to RA’s celebrity status.  These applications were refused and they appealed.  At the same time, the News Group Newspapers Ltd (NGN) enquired whether an RRO was in place as they wished to publish an article on the matter.  They were advised that an RRO was temporarily in place. 
 
The respondent and applicant to the main proceedings then reached a settlement and the claim was withdrawn.  NGN applied for the RRO to be revoked or discharged.  The employment tribunal held that:

1.      An employment tribunal retains the power to revoke or vary an RRO after withdrawal of a claim (otherwise a permanent privacy order would be created where a claim was withdrawn, which the press could not challenge).

2.      The RRO did not automatically expire upon withdrawal of the claim (withdrawal is an action of a party not the tribunal).

3.      Upon conducting a balancing exercise of Convention rights, the RRO should be discharged.

RA, RB, RC and CA appealed against 1 and 3 above and NGN cross-appealed against 2.  The EAT dismissed both appeal and cross-appeal.  The case has been appealed to the Court of Appeal.
 
Read Inforrm article here.

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Employment Law