LONDON — Chelsea say that Eva Carneiro turned down an “open offer of £1.2 million” to settle her claims against the club and Jose Mourinho, while the doctor’s legal team detailed her claims for the first time.
Carneiro took her claims against Chelsea and Mourinho to a public employment tribunal in Croydon on Monday, after private hearings between the parties in January and March failed to result in a settlement.
An opening note issued by Carneiro’s legal team was claiming constructive dismissal, unfair dismissal, detriment, direct sex discrimination and sexual harassment against Chelsea, as well as sex discrimination and sexual harassment against Mourinho.
But in the respondents’ skeleton argument circulated in the wake of the tribunal’s morning session, Chelsea and Mourinho deny that Carneiro “has been treated unlawfully in any way,” stating that she instead adopted a “provocative approach” towards attempts at reconciliation with Mourinho and “indicated a willingness to remain at Chelsea only if her wholly unrealistic and extravagant financial [and other] demands were met.”
These demands, according to Chelsea and Mourinho, included “(i) an increase in her basic salary of more than 40% (to £400,000); (ii) a severance payment of one year’s salary, should she suffer any harassment or her role be compromised; (iii) an extension of her notice period from three to six months; (iv) the benefit of a “structured, objective and robust” bonus scheme “to properly reward me for my contribution to the club’s success”; (v) external independent PR and legal advice to be paid for by Chelsea; (vi) an immediate return to her position on the bench; and (vii) a “substantial payment” in compensation for her distress.”
Chelsea and Mourinho claim that Carneiro has been offered her job back “on more than one occasion” since she left the club in September, and was also made an open offer of £1.2m to settle her claims, due to their assertion that “it is in no one’s interest that this dispute should be determined through litigation.”
Dan Stilitz QC, acting for Chelsea, said during the first day of the tribunal on Monday: “We can only assume she’s embarrassed by the amount she’s claiming.”
In the claimant’s opening note issued by Carneiro’s legal team, the case is described as “a tale of two employees: one good and one bad. The bad employee forces the good employee out of the job of her dreams and the employer does nothing to stop it. The bad employee berates, sexually harasses and demotes the good employee for carrying out her professional duties, namely her health and safety duties as the first team doctor, pitch side.
“Rather than investigating and disciplining the bad employee, the employer allows the bad employee to confirm the demotion, both publicly and privately and to continue with his job. By comparison, the good employee’s demotion is confirmed and she is instructed to return to work and ‘build bridges’ with the bad employee.”
Carneiro claims she experienced a number of issues, including a lack of action by Chelsea following sexually explicit chanting at various away games — in particular at Manchester United and West Ham — and a lack of female changing facilities.
She also argues that she was not provided with a club suit, and regularly had to endure sexually explicit comments from her colleagues.
Carneiro’s opening note said that on Aug. 10, Mourino allegedly told Steve Atkins, head of communications and PR at Chelsea, that he did not want Dr Carneiro on the bench the next match, adding: “She works in academy team or ladys (sic) team not with me.”
She alleges Mourinho told Chelsea medical director, Paco Biosca: “If they don’t know how to do their jobs and they don’t understand the game you get other ones. You have to understand the game.”
In her written opening remarks, Mary O’Rourke QC, for Dr Carneiro, submits: “Not understanding the game is a common allegation put to women in the football world.”
At the opening of the tribunal, O’Rourke confirmed that she plans to cross-examine Mourinho on his witness statement, as well as Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia, chairman Bruce Buck, head physio Jason Palmer and Atkins.
The tribunal will resume on Tuesday afternoon, when witness statements will be made public and Carneiro is expected to be cross-examined.