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The Dangers of The Public Apology

Posted: Friday, 4 January 2019 @ 13:43

More on the employment law case being held at London South, Croydon with now Eva Carneiro demanding a “public apology” from Jose Mourinho as part of her employment law claim against Chelsea and the dismissed manager.

It seems that the parties were engaged in some kind of judicial mediation yesterday though it has not been termed that in the mainstream media.

First of all, it is one thing for someone to want a public apology but it another thing to demand in public a public apology prior to getting it. The position is compounded by the fact that Jose Mourinho is no longer an employee of the organisation she is suing.(she has multiple defendants which makes the negotiation more demanding).

At the best of times clients who want a public apology are on an uphill battle(not least as a Court cannot award it) - If it is being demanded by the QC representative of Carneiro presumably this is a part of strategy possibly to communicate directly to Mourinho whom in contrast to senior figures from his ex employer was not in Court.

Maybe Mourinho is disengaged from the process?   

Ultimately this case can focus on reputation(rather than legal merits) and already you can see the potential ugliness with possible disclosure of embarrassing emails, texts and the like. This is the point of leverage that someone like Eva Carneiro can apply with media lapping it up and looking forward to lurid headlines (or maybe not?) when a full blown and public trial takes place.

Of course loss of reputation is a fear for any party and a Claimant can try to obtain a higher award in negotiation but this weapon only has limited effect.

The Respondents(Chelsea and Mourinho) could just start formulating a PR strategy and take the view that they will take the hit on loss of reputation. It is not exactly as if they have great PR anyway.  

The risk for any Claimant is they can be portrayed as being greedy and/ or naïve particularly if they air what they want in public prior to outcome.

Generally, I prefer my clients to stay silent. 

With respect to the case itself, it is worth remembering that constructive dismissal is not always easy to prove so the Claimant has no slam dunk here. 

And the employee will struggle to get legal costs awarded at the end of the day.  

My guess is that a deal will be done but there have to be moderation of expectations from at least one party, maybe all.