July 29, 2016
Facts of the case:
Eva Carneiro was Chelsea Football club’s first team doctor, after being promoted at the start of the 2011-12 season, from working with the team’s reserves. Carneiro then left the club after being removed from first team duties last summer.
This was following Mourinho’s alleged rude outburst of ‘filho da puta’ in Portuguese when Carneiro and the team’s physiotherapist, Jon Fearn, ran onto the pitch during the team’s game against Swansea in the Premier League last August to assist an injured player. Her decision resulted in a player having to leave the pitch, briefly leaving the team with 9 players on the pitch at what Jose Mourinho claimed was a crucial stage in the game. . Chelsea went on to draw 2-2 with Swansea and Mr Mourinho publicly criticised both Dr Carneiro and first team physio Jon Fearn for being “impulsive and naïve”.
Dr Carneiro left the club in September after being demoted.
Carneiro brought an Employment Tribunal claim for constructive dismissal, against Chelsea, as well as claims of harassment and sex discrimination against the club’s former manager Jose Mourinho.
Carneiro put forward she was removed from first team duties at Mourinho’s request, alleging that at the subsequent match Mr Mourinho told Steve Atkins (Head of PR) ‘she works in academy team or ladies team, not with me’.
What did the employment tribunal decide?
The case was confidentially settled, prior to Eva Carneiro starting to give evidence that was potentially damaging for the reputation of Mourinho and Chelsea Football Club. Carneiro agreed to drop her constructive dismissal case against the club, as well as her claims of harassment and sex discrimination against José Mourinho as part of the settlement.
Eva Carneiro was previously offered a settlement of £1.2 million which she declined so it is estimated that any subsequent agreement is for at least a larger seven figure sum. It is likely Chelsea FC, Mourinho and his new employers, Manchester United FC were actively looking to keep a highly publicised and personal case from developing further in the media.
What does this mean for employers?
This highly publicised case demonstrates the significance of the manner in which employers communicate with employees, as well as how they respond to the actions of employees that they do not believe are in the businesses best interests.
A clear policy to which all employees can follow regarding any method of communication, whether that is in person or electronic communications, will help to avoid potentially damaging communications, such as the potentially discriminatory comments used by Mourinho from being created. Employers also need to maintain a clear policy covering wider areas such as social media, whichÂ will help to maintain and protect an employer’s public profile.
Referring to the constructive dismissal claim specifically, employers should maintain a clear policy for reviewing their staff performance, including how they intend to respond to any improvements required and any disciplinary processes that must be followed in the event of staff acting in a manner not befitting the business. Employers can then respond to any breaches of either policy proportionately and in line with the correct process.
Please do not hesitate to contact our friendly, reliable team on the details below if you would like further advice regarding this issue or if you have any other employment related questions. We would be happy to help.