In this case, Mr Saini and Mr Chandel were employed by the All Saints Haque Centre and were dismissed, allegedly for gross misconduct. After their dismissal, complaints were made to the West Midlands Police that Mr Saini and Mr Chandel were guilty of obtaining property by deception and they were subsequently arrested and held in cells before eventually being released without charge. Both individuals brought claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of religious belief against their former employer and against two of its directors, Mr Bungay and Mr Paul. The employment tribunal (ET) found that the named directors, acting as agents for the ex-employer, were the 'prime movers' in the discriminatory conduct against Mr Chandel and had told a third director that they wanted to get rid of him because he was a Hindu. Accordingly Mr Chandel's claims for unfair dismissal and discrimination were upheld and Mr Saini's claim for unfair dismissal was also upheld (his claim for discrimination, which was based on harassment because of Mr Chandel's beliefs, was unsuccessful).
The ET awarded compensation to Mr Saini and Mr Chandel in the sum of £37,000 (in respect of the discrimination element of the claims only) for which the ex-employer, and the named directors were held to be jointly and severally liable. The impact of a joint and several award is that the claimants are entitled to recover the entirety of the funds from any of the respondents, albeit that the respondents may then have claims against each other for a contribution. In this case the ex-employer went into insolvency leaving the two directors, Mr Bungay and Mr Paul, jointly and severally liable for the damages.
Mr Bungay and Mr Paul appealed the ET's decision on the basis that, amongst other things, the damages should not have been awarded on a joint and several basis. They argued that there were other directors who had not been named as respondents and so had escaped liability which could not be fair. The case of Way v Crouch  IRLR 603 was previously authority for the proposition that damages should be apportioned between the respondents to the extent that each is responsible for the damage caused. In this case the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) preferred the reasoning in Gilbank v Miles  IRLR 538 in which an individual respondent and an employer were held to be jointly and severally liable.
This case highlights the danger for senior executives and employees who may be liable for their personal actions in the workplace. Individuals often assume that any liability will be met by the employer but this will not necessarily be the case where an award is joint and several. In particular, if an employer is in financial difficulty, individuals should be very wary of being left to pay the whole sum awarded if the company goes into insolvency. Executive directors should also check the scope and limitations of their D&O liability insurance policy.