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04 November 2009
A recent Supreme Court decision has established that an employee pursuing compensation for professional damages bears the burden of proof.
An insurance company appealed against a decision that awarded non-material damages to an executive who had been demoted. The Supreme Court ruled that:
"once the professional demotion of the employee has been assessed, in order to be entitled to compensation for professional damages, the employee must prove that the damage exists and was caused by the demotion. In addition, since the compensation is awarded for non-material damages, in order to avoid the duplication of compensatory damages, any other non-pecuniary damage caused by the demotion is included in the awarded sum."
Compensation for non-pecuniary damages is due only (i) in the event of damage to a person's inviolable rights under the Constitution, or (ii) if the damage is the result of a criminal offence. A demotion does not entitle a claimant to compensation for non-pecuniary damages; rather, an employee must show verifiable damage to his or her personal dignity - for example, to his or her career prospects, standard of living or personal relationships. The court must assess the damage caused by the breach of such inviolable rights and must be satisfied that such damage is connected with the employee's demotion.
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