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Fox v British Airways Plc - Death in service payment recoverable benefit following unfair dismissal [2012] EAT

Father of deceased, unfairly dismissed employee was entitled to claim for death in service benefits lost due to the dismissal. Furthermore, whilst in many cases the value of the loss is the cost of an insurance premium for the policy, in certain circumstances the value of the loss can be the full benefit payable under the policy.  

Gary Fox died aged only 44. 20 days prior he had undergone surgery which it was hoped would make him fit again for work.  However he was dismissed from his employment only 5 days earlier.  If he had still been in work when he died, he would have been entitled contractually to a death in service benefit of three times his annual salary (over £85,000).  Because he was dismissed he received nothing.  His father brought a claim in his name for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. On the assumption that the dismissal was unfair, or discriminatory in breach of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 the question for the ET was whether he could claim to have lost that sum.  The EJ said that a much smaller sum, around £350, was payable, akin to a conventional award for statutory loss of rights.

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