Recent and Noteworthy Equality Law Cases

Recent Rulings Round Up - Courtesy of the Solution's Marlene Ellis


Employers Beware! - Third - Party Harassment

After the endless taunting of an Iranian employee by a resident in a childrens care home (11-15 years) in which the employee worked, he took absence through ill health and did not return to work. The employee alleged the council had not done enough to protect him from the residents behaviour - ridiculing his accent and telling him she wanted to blow-up Asians. The council acknowledged it had 'been on notice' concerning the problem four months prior to his ill-health and the taunting had spanned across two years. EAT HELD: The respondent would be regarded as legally liable for harassment of its employee in these circumstances notwithstanding that the resident was not someone for whose acts it was vicariously liable under the Race Relations Act. The 'three-strikes and your out warning', was also undermined in this case. Clearly this has wide implications
Sheffield City Council v Norouzi [2011] EqLR 1039

Must be 'like' for 'like' - Equal Pay
The claimant woman was employed as an HR advisor but was paid £4,065 less than her male coleague also an HR advisor. She claimed equal pay. However, the tribunal found that whilst she and her comparator were employed on broadly similar work, he performed additional duties whilst she worked with a higher level of dependency and support. The legal point - 'like work' and thus, the claimants case failed.
Moutia v London Borough of Lewisham [2011] EqLR 1025

The Young - Age discrimination - direct discrimination
The claimant who was born on the 6th October 1982, was employed in the respondent's cafe. On the 5th October 2010, the claimant informed the respondent that she would be 18 years of age the following day and thus was entitled to the increased national minimum wage for her age group (from £4.00 to £4.92 ph at the time). She was later told that the respondent had no further work for her because she had been "cheeky" in raising this matter. The Belfast Industrial Tribunal upheld the claim of age discrimination (and unfair dismissal). The respondent clearly dismissed her rather than pay the increased wage. 
Greer v Coulter (t/a Alphresco Cafe) [2011]EqLR 1108 
Using a new Remedy - Sex Discrimination  
After deciding that the claimants case was proven insofar as she was subjected to a campaign of bullying and harassment by members of the team she was managing, the Employment Tribunal actioned a recommendation that a senior person from the respondent's human resources department advise the 'accused' employees of the tribunals decision with respect to liability by the 9th March 2011. The respondent was instructed "to inform the Tribunal by the 6th April 2011 whether or not they have complied with this recommendation."
Fairbank v Royal Mail Group Ltd [2011] EqLR 1107 
Borat Hurts - Race Discrimination / Harassment
Sexual Orientation Discrimination / Harassment
The claimant who was Polish and employed by the respondent, supervised an employee who nicknamed him "Borat". He also called him "gay" and asked if he had been "wanking". The tribunal held that the claimant had been treated less favourably than the appropriate hypothetical comparator. Using "Borat" as a nickname was described as racial harassment because the name pertained to personal characteristics(unlike most nicknames) and thus, violated the claimants dignity as well as created an offensive working environment. The word "wanking" as linked to the word "gay" amounted to sexual orientation harassment because the two terms inferred he was without a girlfriend. 
Ruda v Tei Ltd [2011] EqLR 1108 

A big thank you to the Solution's  Marlene Ellis for providing this round up.


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