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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

09 OCT 2014

Woodhouse v West North West Homes Leeds Ltd UKEAT/0007/12; [2013] IRLR 773; (2014) EMPLR 040

Edward  Benson

Partner

5 June 2013

Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)

HHJ Hand QC, Mr M Clancy and Mr M Worthington

Dismissals or any other detriment imposed because of the way a person has made complaints of discrimination may not amount to victimization if the way the complaints were made can be genuinely separated from the complaints themselves (Martin v Devonshires Solicitors). But, says the EAT in this case, Martin was an exceptional case where Mr Martin had repeatedly made false allegations of discrimination based on his paranoid delusions about events which had never happened. These wasted management time and were likely to continue to do so.

W made repeated complaints of discrimination. Two of them were partially upheld. He was eventually dismissed. The tribunal rejected W’s complaint of victimization, saying that the facts of this case were on ‘all fours’ with those in Martin.

The EAT disagreed. Although most of his complaints were found to be false, W genuinely believed they had occurred and this was not a case, like Martin, where the complaints were based on paranoid delusions about events which had never happened. Martin, according to the EAT, was exceptional.

Different divisions of the EAT, however, have different views on this. In Panayiotou v Chief Constable of Hampshire, [2014] IRLR 500, the EAT comments there is no need for the circumstances to be ‘exceptional’ to enable disclosures to be distinguished from the manner in which they were made.

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