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Disability discrimination: Second unlawful act does not extinguish liability for first

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

In HM Prison Service v Beart (No.2) [2005] EWCA (Civ) 467, the Court of Appeal holds that:

  • An employer cannot rely on its own second wrongful act to break the chain of causation for the first wrong and, thus, escape liability for damages for it. Liability for disability discrimination could not be avoided simply by dismissing the employee unfairly. Not only would this be unlawful, it would also be contrary to public policy.
  • The employer had committed two separate wrongs against the employee, disability discrimination and, later, unfair dismissal. Damages for the former are not affected by the statutory cap on compensation for the latter.