Discrimination

Race discrimination: false reason for dismissal shifted burden of proof

Lying about the reason for dismissal and later amending one’s defence to include the true reason is likely to shift the burden of proof in a discrimination case.

Sanctity of copyright was not a protected philosophical belief

An employer did not discriminate when it dismissed an employee who refused to sign a copyright agreement because she held a ‘philosophical belief’ that she should own the rights to her work.

Vegetarianism is not a philosophical belief

Vegetarianism is a ‘lifestyle choice’ and, as such, not a belief which qualifies for protection under the Equality Act.

Constructive knowledge where employee hides disability

An employer did not have constructive knowledge of an employee’s disability where the employee hid her disability and would have continued to hide it on further inquiry.

Sharing offensive image on Facebook was not done 'in the course of employment'

The posting of a racially offensive image via a personal Facebook account was not done ‘in the course of employment’ and was therefore not an action for which the employer could be vicariously liable.

Perceived disability

A police officer, who was turned down for a transfer because her hearing loss was marginally below the medical standard for police recruitment, had suffered direct discrimination because of a perceived disability.

Relying on occupational health reports to determine disability

An employer had not simply ‘rubber-stamped’ an occupational health report where the report dealt with the issue of disability in detail and there was no other evidence on which the employer could rely.

Victimisation and what amounts to a protected act

Continuing with tribunal proceedings is as much a protected act as bringing proceedings in the first place.

Disability discrimination and the side effects of treatment

The Equality Act 2010 excludes an impairment of vision where ‘in the person's case, correctable by spectacles or contact lenses or in such other ways as may be prescribed’. ‘Correctable’ is a practical question which must consider not only whether the impairment was corrected but whether there are unacceptable adverse consequences.

Knowledge of disability and date of acquisition

Knowledge of an employee’s disability could have been acquired during an appeal against dismissal.

Sexual orientation and constructive dismissal

The adverse treatment of a gay head teacher amounted to constructive dismissal and sexual orientation discrimination.

Email to inaccessible work address during maternity leave could be unfavourable treatment

Sending an important letter about redundancies to a woman on maternity leave to a work email account which she could not access could be unfavourable treatment under the Equality Act. But whether it was also maternity discrimination depends upon the reasons why that treatment occurred.

What is 'long term' for disability purposes?

EAT clarifies how to interpret ‘long term’ for the purpose of the definition of disability.

Dismissal for 'cohabitation outside marriage' was not religious discrimination

The dismissal of a teacher at an ultra-orthodox Jewish nursery who refused to lie about living with her boyfriend was not discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.

Equal pay and comparability of pay terms

For the purposes of equal pay law, two distinct parts of a workforce (here female shop floor workers and higher-paid male distribution centre workers) can compare their pay, even if they are located at different sites, in different parts of the organisation/group, and with very different pay arrangements/management structures.

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