Really Easy Car Credit Ltd v Thompson UKEAT/0197/17/DA

Appeal against a finding of automatic unfair dismissal by reason of pregnancy. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant had worked for the Respondent for a short period of time and was still within her probationary period when it was decided that she would be dismissed due to her "emotional volatility" and "failure to fit in with the Respondent's work ethic". The decision was made before the Respondent knew that the Claimant was pregnant but even when they did know, they still decided to dismiss her 2 days later. The ET found that delaying the communication of the Claimant's dismissal meant the Respondent had the opportunity to review its decision in the light of its knowledge of the Claimant's pregnancy, which "clearly had a bearing on the behaviour that the Respondent considered was the last straw". The ET found the Claimant had therefore "proved facts sufficient to reverse the burden of proof" and the Respondent had failed to show that the dismissal was in no sense whatsoever related to the Claimant's pregnancy; it upheld the Claimant's complaints of pregnancy discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal by reason of pregnancy. The Respondent appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET had failed to apply the correct legal test; it had effectively found the Respondent liable by omission, the ET apparently considering that the Respondent ought to have re-visited its decision to dismiss the Claimant once it learned she was pregnant. The correct test to determine was whether the Claimant's pregnancy itself had been the reason or principal reason for her dismissal or whether the decision to dismiss had been because of her pregnancy.

Published: 06/03/2018 11:05

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