Compensation for failure to give rest breaks does not include injury to feelings


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The Court of Appeal has held in Santos Gomes v Higher Level Care Ltd that compensation for failing to provide rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) does not extend to injury to feelings.

The claimant brought a number of claims against her former employer, including one for breach of the WTR. The tribunal found that her employer had failed to provide her with the 20-minute rest breaks required under the WTR, but rejected her claim that she was also entitled to recover compensation for injury to feelings, holding that there was nothing in the wording of the WTR to support this. The EAT agreed.

The claimant appealed to the Court of Appeal, arguing that an award for injury to feelings could be made under Regulation 30(4) which provides that the amount of compensation shall be such as the tribunal considers just and equitable in all the circumstances having regard to "the employer's default in refusing to permit the worker to exercise his right". The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.

Take note: Following the decision in Gomes it is clear that it is only if rest breaks are refused by an employer on discriminatory grounds that it will be possible to bring a claim for discrimination which will include an element for injury to feelings. A straightforward breach of the WTR will not amount to a discrimination claim.

This article is taken from HR Law - April 2018.

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