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Evidence of spent conviction admissible
In A v B, the EAT upheld a Tribunal decision that an employer was permitted to submit evidence of an employee’s spent conviction as part of its defence to claims for race discrimination and unfair dismissal because the evidence was so important to the issues that justice could not be done without it.
The Claimant was convicted of kerb crawling in January 2006 and subsequently a few months later was employed by the Respondent. After 5 years his conviction was spent but he was dismissed in November 2011, allegedly for scoring female colleagues according to their attractiveness, sex appeal, and “willingness to engage in sexual encounters”. The Claimant brought Tribunal proceedings for unfair and wrongful dismissal and discrimination, victimisation and harassment because of his British/Asian ethnicity. In its defence, the Respondent sought to rely on the Claimant’s spent conviction for kerb crawling as evidence of his tendencies. The Tribunal allowed the evidence to be admitted on the basis that, if the Claimant’s colleagues could not give evidence about their knowledge of the conviction and the extent to which it affected their relationship and dealings with him (if indeed it did at all) they would be unable to give full and honest evidence in relation to the claim. The EAT upheld this decision.
An interesting case which probably turns on its facts because of the close relationship to the nature of the spent conviction and the allegations which gave rise to the dismissal.
This legal update is provided for general information purposes only and should not be applied to specific circumstances without prior consultation with us.
For further details on any of the issues covered in this update please contact Gemma Ospedale, Partner in Employment on 020 7583 2222.
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