Employee Unable to Issue Additional Claims Following a COT3 Agreement (Mr I Mclellan v Healthwork Group Ltd: 2400551/2022 )

In the case of Mr I Mclellan v Healthwork Group Ltd, the claimant was unsuccessful in his claim to pursue further claims after he had settled through an ACAS COT3 agreement.

The Facts in Mr I Mclellan v Healthwork Group Ltd

Mr I Mclellan (the “Claimant”) commenced employment with the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police (the “GMP”) on 23 March 1998. Healthwork Group Ltd (the “Respondent”) provides occupational health services to GMP.

The Claimant alleged that during the course of his employment:

  • Following an injury at work in 2015, he was permanently disabled and unable to carry out the ordinary duties required as a police officer;
  • He was victimised under section 27 of the Equality Act 2010 (the “EqA”) for raising a claim for disability discrimination.

On 8 October 2017, the Claimant brought a claim against the GMP for disability discrimination (“Claim 1”). Then, on 19 November 2019, Claim 1 was withdrawn and a COT3 settlement was reached through ACAS. The Claimant brought another claim against the GMP, on 18 June 2020, for victimisation under section 27 of the EqA  (“Claim 2”).

On 1 February 2021, the Respondent argued that they were not the Claimant’s employer. They were also not vicariously liable for the actions of Dr Lister, the doctor whose actions the Claimant had complained about.  The tribunal then listed a preliminary hearing to consider an application from the Respondent to strike out Claim 2. This was on the basis that it had no reasonable prospect of success.

Before the application was considered, the Claimant entered into a COT3 Agreement with the Respondent. Under the terms of the COT3, the Respondent agreed to issue a letter of regret in return for the withdrawal of Claim 2. This letter was signed and sent to the Claimant, after which, he withdrew this claim. A similar COT3 settlement was entered into with GMC.

On 1 February 2022, the Claimant raised a further claim against both GMP and the Respondent. However, he withdrew the claim against the Second Respondent on 11 May 2022.

The Claimant brought a further claim, on 8 June 2022, as to whether an ACAS COT3 settlement made on 1 September 2012, could lawfully exclude the jurisdiction of the employment tribunal regarding this claim. The tribunal narrowed the claims to be determined down to those relating to acts of victimisation under the EqA, which the Claimant argued happened after the COT3 agreement was signed.

The Decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal found in favour of the Respondent. They found that all claims by the Claimant which had been settled through the ACAS Conciliation Officer under the COT3 agreement met the requirements of S.144(4)(a) of the Equality Act 2010. Therefore, his claim was dismissed.

The COT3 agreements with the Claimant was a full and final settlement of “all and any claims which the claimant has or may have in the future against the Second Respondent [GMP] or any of its associated companies or its officers or shareholder or employees or workers whether existing at present or arising from events occurring after this agreement has been entered into including but not limited to, claims under…the Equality Act 2010…” 

Our Lawyers View

Steve Norton, lawyer at Redmans, says: The COT3 agreement was clear and unambiguous in its meaning in settling a wide range of claims, limiting the jurisdiction of the employment tribunal to reopen the agreement.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal can be found here