Serco Leisure Operating Ltd v Lau UKEAT/0120/17/RN

Appeal against a finding the Claimant had suffered less favourable treatment under s18 EA 2010 because she was pregnant. Appeal allowed and remitted to the same ET to determine the s18 issue afresh.

The Claimant informed the Respondent that she was pregnant just before a restructuring exercise that would result in redundancies. Staff had to attend interviews for the new jobs available - the Claimant scored the lowest mark. She could not attend an interview for either of 2 lower grade positions because of pregnancy related sickness. The Respondent therefore used the score she achieved before and as it was the lowest she was made redundant. The Claimant lost her claim of automatic unfair dismissal and pregnancy discrimination, the ET concluding that her pregnancy had not been the principal reason for her dismissal and thus she had not been automatically dismissed for the purposes of section 99 ERA 1996, but (applying the different test under section 18 Equality Act 2010) she had suffered unfavourable treatment because of her pregnancy as this had materially influenced the decision to use a method of selection for the supervisor positions, which had been an effective cause of her dismissal. The Respondent appealed against the ET's decision on the section 18 claim.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET's finding that the burden of proof had shifted for the purposes of section 136(2) Equality Act 2010 was inadequately explained, such that the Respondent could not understand why it had lost on this point, the ET seemingly referring to matters it had already discounted as justifying any inference of discrimination.

Published: 14/06/2018 17:11

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