Equality , Termination

19 October 2021 Summary The EAT held that a compulsory retirement age can be lawful, in limited circumstances. In these two cases, separate to each other but linked by the effects of the same policy, the employer argued that a compulsory retirement age of 68 was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.   Law The Equality act prohibits discrimination on the grounds of age under sections (5) and (13), unless it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim (section 13 (…

Equality

An employment tribunal has decided, for the first time, that indirect discrimination can occur even when the employee to whom the provision, criterion or practice has been applied does not have the relevant characteristic, where their associates does and this has the result of disadvantaging the employee. Under the Equality Act, section 19, (1), indirect discrimination is defined as:  “A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if A applies to B a provision, criterion or practice which…

Equality , Termination

The Employment Tribunal (ET) has dismissed a series of claims concerning discrimination, unfair and wrongful dismissal, harassment, and more, in order to avoid encouraging ‘a culture of hyper-sensitivity’. Facts The claimant worked as a lawyer for PSI CRO UK, the respondent. She was offered a role at the company’s branch in Switzerland but was told that her age “will prevent [her] from commanding a higher salary”. Due to unrelated personal reasons, she declined the role. The claimant told…

Equality

The Employment Tribunal (ET) has held that an employee was not directly discriminated against on the grounds of religion or harassed by her employer. ‘Religion’ means any religion, or a lack of religion, and ‘belief’ means any religious or philosophical belief or a lack of belief. For ‘religion’ to be protected, it must have a clear structure and belief system. ‘Religious belief’ goes beyond beliefs about and adherence to a religion or its central articles of faith and may vary from person to…

Equality

The Supreme Court has affirmed the Court of Appeal’s decision in finding that claimants must provide evidence to the tribunal in discrimination claims. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation for the protected characteristic of 'race'. Employers are liable for acts of discrimination, harassment and victimisation carried out by their employees ‘in the course of employment’, whether or not the employer knows…

Equality , Termination

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has decided that the Employment Tribunal had erred in law by relying on irrelevant medical records in a disability discrimination claim, and for not considering the claimant's challenge to the respondent’s justification defence. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation for the protected characteristic of disability. The core definition of ‘disability’ is a physical or mental impairment, which…

Equality , Termination

The Employment Tribunal (ET) has decided that an NHS receptionist, who was dismissed after telling her employer that she was scared to work in a public-facing role, was unfairly dismissed. To avoid a claim for unfair dismissal an employer must have: a potentially fair reason to dismiss acted reasonably in treating this reason as sufficient to justify dismissal followed a fair procedure. In order to bring an unfair dismissal claim the employee must show that: he or she was employed for at…

Equality , Termination

An employment appeal tribunal (EAT) has upheld a claim of indirect sex discrimination because the employer had not considered the employee’s childcaring responsibilities. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, and victimisation for the protected characteristic of ‘sex’. Indirect sex discrimination occurs when a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) is applied universally and that PCP: puts, or would put, a group of people…

Equality

An employment tribunal (ET) has held that a pregnant woman was not discriminated against by her employer after she was sent home during the coronavirus pandemic for health and safety reasons. The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination and victimisation relating to the protected characteristic of ‘pregnancy and maternity’. Discrimination will occur under section 18 of the 2010 Act when an individual is treated unfavourably during the protected period because: of her pregnancy of an…

Equality

The Supreme Court has upheld a previous Court of Appeal decision that retail workers can compare pay terms for the purposes of an equal pay claim to distribution workers, due to common terms applying at the establishments. The right of men and women to receive equal pay for equal work is contained in the Equality Act 2010. In order to bring a claim for equal pay, the claimant must identify comparators of the opposite sex that are conducting equal work to them but are being paid more for doing…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the Employment Tribunal’s (ET) decision in finding that an organisation did not go far enough in preventing racial harassment and was thus liable for the harassment faced by the claimant. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation for all protected characteristics. The focus of this case is race. Harassment is unlawful where a person is subjected to unwanted conduct…

Equality

The EAT has dismissed a victimisation claim, ruling that wording used by the claimant in a grievance was not sufficient to amount to a ‘protected act’. As she was an experienced in HR, her wording called into question whether she believed she was discriminated against at the time.    The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against unlawful direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation for the protected characteristic of ‘sex’. Victimisation occurs where an employer…

Family friendly and flexible working rights , Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has considered whether a policy that removed contracted rest days due to the taking of parental leave was indirectly discriminatory against women. Employees who qualify have a right to take up to 18 weeks' unpaid parental leave in total for the purposes of caring for a child, which is usually limited to four weeks per year. This applies equally to both male and female workers. Under the Equality Act 2010, Indirect sex discrimination occurs when a provision…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has considered whether a tribunal erred by permitting evidence to be admitted into proceedings that was not included on the ET3 form.    Under the Equality Act 2010, direct race discrimination occurs where a person is treated, or would be treated, less favourably ‘because of’ race compared with others in like-for-like circumstances. In bringing a claim, the claimant needs to demonstrate that they have been subjected to unfavourable treatment. Once this is…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld a ruling that a pregnant police officer was discriminated against due to a policy that instructed pregnant officers to be transferred to a desk-based role. In situations where an employee notifies the organisation that they are pregnant, a risk assessment may deem it necessary to temporarily alter their usual duties or role in order to keep them safe during their pregnancy. This needs to be approached carefully by organisations in order to avoid…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that in circumstances where there is no evidence of a disability on the date of an alleged act of discrimination, a tribunal is entitled to consider all evidence available from around this date and infer that a disability was present at the relevant time. Under the Equality Act 2010, a person is said to be disabled if they have a condition that is a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on someone’s…

Equality

The Court of Appeal has held that indirect age discrimination can potentially be justified on the basis of saving costs to balance company books. The Equality Act 2010 outlines that indirect age discrimination is when a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) is applied to everyone and is apparently age neutral, but which: disadvantages more people in one age group than in another causes an individual employee a disadvantage is not justifiable as ‘a proportionate means of achieving a…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has provided clarity on establishing the link between individual and group disadvantage when bringing a claim for indirect age discrimination. Under the Equality Act 2010, indirect age discrimination occurs when: a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) is applied to people of all ages, but the PCP disadvantages people of one age (or in a particular age group) more when compared with persons of a different age or age group the PCP causes an individual…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has considered whether a claimant suffering from paranoid delusions had a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. Section 6 of the Equality Act 2010 outlines that a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial long-term adverse effect on their ability to conduct day-to-day activities. Schedule 1 of the Act takes a closer look at what constitutes ‘long term’, outlining an impairment can be classed as…

Equality

The Court of Appeal has ruled that, when considering a ‘material factor’ defence within an equal pay claim, organisations need to explain pay disparity, not justify it. Under the Equality Act 2010, men and women have the right to receive equal pay for equal work. Work is considered to be of ‘equal value’ where the value of a woman's work is equal to that of a man in terms of the demands made on her, for example, under such headings as effort, skill and decision-making. In effect the remit and…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the tribunal did not err by finding a claimant had not demonstrated clear evidence that her ‘mixed personality’ disorder had a substantial adverse effect on her day-to-day activities. Under section 6 of the Equality Act 2010, a person is deemed to have a disability if they have an impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. If this can be established, an employee…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that an employment tribunal (ET) was right to rely on medical evidence from a GP when it was contradicted by the claimant in a discrimination claim. Under the Equality Act 2010, a person, (A), discriminates against a disabled person (B), if A treats B unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of B’s disability and cannot show this treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. For example, if an organisation…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that a tribunal proceeded on a false basis by not requiring the disclosure of documents relating to the refusal of an employment opportunity due to potentially racist reasons. Under the Equality Act 2010, organisations are prohibited from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their race and religion. This includes denying them opportunity for promotion or new roles. During employment tribunal proceedings, a preliminary hearing may be held…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a tribunal had erred by finding an organisation had harassed an employee despite also finding its officers had not been motivated by discrimination. Under the Equality Act 2010, direct discrimination occurs where a person is treated, or would be treated, less favourably ‘because of’ a protected characteristic compared with others in like-for-like circumstances. If the claimant establishes a case which at first sight indicates that…

Equality

The Supreme Court has ruled that Barclays were not liable for sexual assault committed by a GP on employees after the bank contracted him to conduct medical checks. Organisations can be liable for acts committed by their employees if it is found that their actions are sufficiently connected to their employment. However, this doctrine of vicarious liability has also extended beyond employment into other employment relationships, including those between an organisation and an independent…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that two officers suffered discrimination after a compensation payment, provided as part of a voluntary exit scheme, was capped due to their receiving deferred pensions. The Equality Act 2010 outlines that it is unlawful to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something arising from, or in consequence of, this disability. It is, however, possible to justify such treatment if it can be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a…

Equality

The Court of Appeal has upheld earlier decisions that a provision criterion or practice (PCP) can be established by one-off acts committed by an organisation, but not always. Under sections 20 and 21 of the Equality Act 2010, organisations have a legal duty to make reasonable adjustments to assist disabled employees where a PCP places them at a substantial disadvantage. If reasonable adjustments are not made, the organisation could be liable for a claim of disability discrimination. There is…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that, when bringing a claim of disability discrimination, a claimant must show that their condition has a ‘long-term effect’ at the time of the alleged acts of discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful to discriminate against an individual, directly or indirectly, due to their having a disability. The Act also prohibits victimisation, which is where an individual is subjected to a detriment as a direct result of bringing a complaint…

Equality

The employment tribunal (ET) has found that the BBC failed to demonstrate its actions in paying two presenters substantially different salaries was not related to their gender. Under the Equality Act 2010, male and female employees must receive equal pay for equal work. The work does not have to be related to the same role; it can be work which is the same or broadly similar and any differences are not of practical importance in relation to employment terms and conditions. This is known as ‘…

Equality

The employment tribunal has ruled that ethical veganism is a philosophical belief and, therefore, should be granted legal protections under the Equality Act 2010. Under the Equality Act 2010, employees are able to bring claims if they are subjected to forms of discrimination because of a ‘philosophical belief’.  In the case of Grainger v Nicolson, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) provided guidance on what could constitute as a ‘philosophical belief’. Amongst other criteria, they outlined…