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Employment Law

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Veale Wasborough Vizards , 02 OCT 2015

Caste discrimination award made by Employment Tribunal

Caste discrimination award made by Employment Tribunal
Helen Hughes
Solicitor, Veale Wasbrough Vizards

An Employment Tribunal (ET) has awarded £183,774 in unpaid wages to a domestic servant who brought one of the UK's first claims for caste discrimination.

Ms Tirkey was employed by Mr and Mrs Chandhok as a domestic servant. She brought numerous claims against her employers, including actions for direct and indirect discrimination, alleging that she had been treated unfavourably due to her caste.

We previously reported that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) refused to strike out her claim and held that in some cases, caste will fall within the scope of 'ethnic and national origins', included within the definition of race under the Equality Act 2010 for the purposes of a race discrimination claim.

The ET has now handed down judgment. Ms Tirkey was successful in all her claims, including unlawful deductions of wages, unfair dismissal, race discrimination, religious discrimination and breaches of the Working Time Regulations 1998.

As she had not been paid the national minimum wage throughout her employment, Ms Tirkey was awarded £183,774 in unpaid wages.

A further hearing has been listed for November 2015 to determine the amount of compensation awarded in connection with her other claims, including caste discrimination.

Best practice

This decision is particularly important in the context of race discrimination claims. It shows that in certain circumstances, caste considerations can fall within the interpretation of 'ethnic or national origins' for the purposes of a race discrimination claim.

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