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If a manager, for non-discriminatory reasons, decides to
dismiss on the basis of information provided by other managers who are
motivated by discrimination, is the dismissing manager guilty of
discrimination? The Court of Appeal holds he is not, because only the alleged
discriminator’s mental processes are relevant - not those of others. The
employer, however, could still be liable for discrimination because it is
liable for the acts of the other managers.
The General Manager decided
to dismiss R because of reports from other managers. The tribunal considered
only the motivation of the General Manager, without considering the input from
the other managers. That was inevitable because of the way R’s case had been
argued, focussing only on the General Manager. The question for the Court of
Appeal was whether, if unknown to the General Manager, the other managers had
been motivated by discrimination (in this case on grounds of age), the General
Manager should himself be treated as having discriminated. The Court of Appeal
concluded that he should not. So that claim failed. Since R had never argued
the case on the basis of age discrimination by the other managers, the tribunal
never had a chance to consider the evidence that those other managers might
have been motivated by her age and it was too late to raise that argument now.