The applicant, Mr Dunnachie, had been threatened and humiliated by his manager over a period of some months, such that he had become extremely distressed and was absent from work for at least three weeks owing to stress.

Mr Dunnachie resigned and obtained a new position without a break in his employment. He brought a claim for unfair dismissal on the basis that he had been constructively dismissed, in that his employer's conduct amounted to a repudiation of his contract of employment, and included a claim for £10,000 for damage to family life arising from the fact that in his new job he had less time with his young family. The employment tribunal allowed this claim, commenting that the award was reasonable if not modest in the circumstances.
The respondent employer appealed, arguing that the employment tribunal had no jurisdiction to make any award for such non-economic loss.