Trustees individually liable for discrimination

Did you know that your Trustees can be found individually liable for their actions in discrimination? In a recent case Bungay and another v Saini two board members of an advice centre were found to be joint and severally liable for discrimination compensation and aggravated damages.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the 2 board members were ‘prime movers’ in a campaign of religious discrimination against the claimants which led to their dismissal. They were found to be acting as the organisation’s agent and therefore jointly and severally liable with the organisation itself.

The importance of this, is that the board members were responsible in full, in the event that they were pursued by the former employees. So if the organisation went into liquidation, the individuals could be pursued for the entire sum of the compensation. In light of this, those involved in running and managing charities need to be aware that even though they are not employees of their organisation they can be held financially liable for the actions they commit on behalf of the organisation.

Trustees and managers should not assume that their actions in relation to their employees will be protected by the legal entity they work for.