December 9 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, October 6, 2012
An employment lawyer has questioned the figure of up to £2m which Paul Lambert is reportedly seeking from Norwich City Football Club.
Tom Sharpe, who works for Norwich-based Birketts, said he was “baffled” as to where that figure came from, given there are generally caps on how much people can be awarded at employment tribunals.
According to Carrow Road chairman Alan Bowkett, the former Canaries boss is taking the club to an industrial tribunal for unfair dismissal and breach of contract, with Mr Lambert wanting between £1.5m and £2m from the club.
But Mr Sharpe said he was not convinced those figures stacked up, and that he suspected Mr Lambert was claiming constructive dismissal, rather than unfair dismissal.
He said: “You can claim constructive dismissal where you say it is no longer possible to continue working in a job because mutual trust and confidence has broken down. “Given Mr Lambert had walked out on the club, it seems to me he will be claiming constructive dismissal and then you have the issue of him claiming £1.5m to £2m.”
Mr Sharpe said a cap on the amount of money people can be awarded at industrial tribunals means he could not receive a multi-million pay out.
Mr Sharpe said: “It’s not really possible for someone to claim that sort of amount at an unemployment tribunal, as there’s a cap on what you can receive of £72,300.
“He could get compensation in excess of that if he could say his dismissal was automatically unfair. The most common way that happens is if somebody has blown the whistle on corporate malpractice and I can’t see that having been the case here.
“Another common way is claiming discrimination, but again, I can’t see that has happened here.”
While suing for breach of contract could net Mr Lambert compensation, again there is a limit on that via the normal tribunal process of £25,000, Mr Sharpe said.
He added Mr Lambert could take such a fight to the High Court, but that there did not seem to be an argument for compensation over loss of earnings or reputation, as Mr Lambert very quickly took over the job at Villa Park, presumably on a higher salary than he was on at Norwich.
He said: “If he has walked out and gets another job straight away you have got to say what have the losses been?
“I am a little bit baffled as to where this huge claim is coming from.
“On the current information which is in the public domain, I cant see what the claim is for.”
After Lambert revealed the club were also suing him, Mr Sharpe said: “In terms of them suing him, the only thing I can think of is that it is for breach of contract on his part, such as if he was required to give notice.”
Mr Sharpe said: “I suspect this is all a bit of talk between the two clubs. My guess is that this is all a bit of gamesmanship and brinksmanship.”
Perhaps it takes a Premier League victory forged through adversity to view Norwich City in a more reflective light.