Dr Eva Carneiro – happy ever after in the "tale of two employees"?

Dr Eva Carneiro, the former Chelsea first team doctor, who brought employment tribunal claims of constructive dismissal and sex discrimination against Chelsea and Jose Mourinho (respectively), is understood to have settled her claims for a confidential sum.
The claims settled on day two of the two-week trial, a day on which Dr Carneiro was due to give evidence. In opening submissions given on the first day of the hearing, Chelsea sought to portray Dr Carneiro as publicity hungry, self promoting and money grabbing. It highlighted that Dr Carneiro had already rejected an offer of £1.2 million to settle her claims. It also said that she could not expect to achieve those sums even if she was successful at tribunal. In their opening submissions, Dr Carneiro’s legal team told the tale of the “good employee” who was forced out of “the job of her dreams”, berated, sexually harassed and demoted, by the “bad employee”. They also placed blame firmly with Chelsea, who they said confirmed Dr Carneiro’s demotion and told her to “build bridges” with Mourinho, rather than looking into Mourinho’s conduct.
To succeed with a constructive dismissal claim Dr Carneiro would have needed to show a fundamental breach of her employment contract entitling her to resign and treat herself as dismissed. As well as focusing on the acts and omissions of Chelsea as her employer, Dr Carneiro’s legal team would have undoubtedly argued that Chelsea should have been held vicariously responsible for the acts of Jose Mourinho. These may have included Dr Carneiro’s well publicised allegations that Jose Mourinho called her a “daughter of a whore” in Portuguese.
In support of her claims of sex discrimination and harassment (and in addition to the above statement allegedly made by Jose Mourinho), Dr Carneiro was said to have been relying on a series of “sexist and derogatory” emails and text messages between Jose Mourinho and his backroom staff.
The cap on compensatory awards in unfair dismissal claims is currently £78,962 or 52 weeks’ pay if this is lower. While discrimination complaints are not capped, Dr Carneiro may have recovered more under the terms of a settlement than she would have been awarded at tribunal, had she succeeded with her claims.
Dr Carneiro is said to be relieved that she can now move forward with her life. No doubt Chelsea and Jose Mourinho (who was due to give evidence next week) are also feeling some sense of relief, if only about avoiding further bad press which has surrounded the case.

Michelle Lamb

About Michelle Lamb

Michelle is a senior associate in the Employment team. She advises public and private employers on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law, but specializes in TUPE, change programs, employment aspects of corporate transactions and discrimination complaints. Michelle regularly procures advice from other jurisdictions to support Dentons' multinational client base.

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