Steer v Stormsure Ltd UKEAT/0216/20/AT

Appeal against the ET’s decision that it did not have jurisdiction to grant interim relief for the Appellant’s discrimination/victimisation claims. Appeal dismissed.

The Appellant was employed by the Respondent for four months, during which time she alleges that she was unfairly treated. She contended that her dismissal amounted to sex discrimination and to victimisation for protected acts or, alternatively, that she was dismissed for making a protected disclosure and that this was an automatically unfair dismissal, contrary to section 103A of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The Appellant presented a claim to the ET seeking interim relief in relation to her whistleblowing claim and her sex discrimination/victimisation claims. The ET listed an interim relief hearing in relation to the whistleblowing claim, but determined that it did not have jurisdiction to grant interim relief for the discrimination/victimisation claims.

The Appellant appealed on a range of grounds, contending that: (1) the remedies that are available to a claimant who brings a claim of unlawful discrimination or victimisation arising from his or her dismissal include a right to seek interim relief; while she accepted that no such right appears on the face of the Equality Act 2010, the right to claim interim relief must be read into domestic law, because this is required by European law and/or by the European Convention on Human Rights ("ECHR"); (2) the EU law principles of effectiveness and/or equivalence require interim relief to be made available in these circumstances, and the absence of interim relief protection for such claims is in violation of fundamental principles of EU law, including those set out in Articles 15 and 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights; and (3) the failure of domestic law to make provision for interim relief in such cases amounted to discrimination against women, in breach of Article 14 of the ECHR.

The EAT, having acknowledged the significance of this case, dismissed the appeal, even though the Appellant had succeeded in establishing that the difference in treatment relating to interim relief as it affects those who bring a discrimination/victimisation claim arising from dismissal, and those who bring a whistleblowing claim for automatic unfair dismissal, was a breach of Article 14 of the ECHR, when read with Article 6. The Appellant's application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal on the ECHR point would be granted.

Published: 15/01/2021 18:53

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