Iourin v The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford [2023] EAT 108

Appeal against the dismissal of the Claimant's claims of direct sex discrimination, victimisation and disability discrimination. Appeal allowed in part.

Prior to 2016, the Claimant and a colleague, Ms A, had a good personal and professional relationship. On 21 April 2016, Ms A submitted a written grievance to the Respondent’s Human Resources Department saying that the Claimant had sexually harassed her. Following an investigation, the Respondent concluded that 'we do not make a finding that these actions amount to harassment or sexual harassment'. However, the Respondent insisted that the Claimant undertake equality and diversity training which the Claimant objected to. The Claimant did attend the training, which included specific training relating to bullying and harassment. In 2018, the Claimant made claims under the Equality Act of sex discrimination, victimisation and disability discrimination which were rejected by the ET. The Claimant appealed, being particularly concerned by the ET’s statement in its written reasons that the Respondent’s grievance committee had found that he had committed one or more acts of harassment towards Ms A.

The EAT allowed the appeal in part. The ET made a material error of law when addressing two of the Claimant’s allegations of direct sex discrimination and victimisation. It made a mistake on an issue of undisputed fact, wrongly stating in the operative paragraphs of its written reasons that the Claimant had been found by the Respondent’s grievance committee to have committed an act of harassment. It relied on that factual mistake when reaching its conclusion that the Claimant had not been discriminated against when he was subsequently required to undergo harassment training. This was, in the circumstances, a material error of law.

Published: 13/09/2023 09:41

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