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Victimisation after multiple complaints
This is a case which will have some resonance with many employers. Woodhouse v West North West Homes Leeds, concerned a case of a black employee who lodged 10 internal grievances alleging race discrimination over a period of 4 years. He separately …
This is a case which will have some resonance with many employers. Woodhouse v West North West Homes Leeds, concerned a case of a black employee who lodged 10 internal grievances alleging race discrimination over a period of 4 years. He separately brought 7 Employment Tribunal claims against the employer, almost all of which were found to be empty allegations with no evidential basis or grounds for his suspicions. Eventually, out of the employer’s frustration, he was sacked. What happened?
He was dismissed because of a breakdown in trust and confidence. Hardly surprising, really. Inevitably, he brought a claim. The Tribunal held that this was not victimisation because the employer would similarly have dismissed any employee regardless of race who had brought a similar number of meritless grievances and claims. Moral justice, you would think…
However the EAT held that this was wrong. The grievances and claims were “protected acts” and the individual had been dismissed because he made those protected acts. There was no suggestion of bad faith, and since the individual was clearly dismissed for making these protected acts, he had made out a claim for victimisation.
Whilst legally this decision has to be right, ethically and morally it seems extremely unfair to the employer that they have to put up with an individual making persistent meritless claims and allegations and cannot dismiss them without risk of losing in an Employment Tribunal.
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.