The Court of Appeal in (1) Capita Customer Management Ltd v Ali & (2) Chief Constable of Leicestershire v Hextall  EWCA Civ 900, has overturned the Employment Appeal Tribunal and held that employees do not unlawfully discriminate against men when when paying them less for shared parental leave than they pay women when taking enhanced maternity pay as part of maternity leave. Such claims are not sex discrimination claims but equal terms claims, to be brought under the Equal Pay Act 1970, which are bound to fail because they relate to terms of work affording special treatment to woman in connection with pregnancy of childbirth. An appeal to the Supreme Court is possible.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has handed down judgment in the appeal case of Hextall v Leicestershire Police UKEAT/0139/17/DA. Mr Hextall is a police officer who took Shared Parental Leave. However, under the informal national policy that exists at the current time in relation to the payment of such leave, he was paid only at the statutory rate and not the enhanced rate paid to mothers taking maternity leave.
Mr Hextall argued that that policy put men at a particular disadvantage compared to women because it acted as a financial disincentive to their taking such leave where mothers had the alternative option of taking maternity leave. As such, he said, it constituted unlawful indirect sex discrimination. Hextall is linked to another (non-police) case, Capita v Ali UKEAT/0139/17/DA.
In short, the Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that a failure to pay a male police officer taking Shared Parental Leave the same rate of pay as a female police officer taking Maternity Leave potentially constitutes indirect sex discrimination. Jonathan Davies represented Leicestershire Police in both the employment tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
The recent case of Vining & Ors v London Borough of Wandsworth  EWCA Civ 1092 represents an attempt to circumvent restrictions on certain types of officers from enjoying employment law rights – in a claim of unfair dismissal and for a protective award in respect of an alleged failure in collective consultation relating to their redundancies.
Wandsworth reorganised their parks police force and dismissed Mr Vining (V) and Mr Francis (F) from that force on the ground of redundancy. As a result, V and F brought proceedings for unfair dismissal for W’s failure to consult them during the redundancy process.
The David Hare screenplay for the recent film Denial contains the following advice to the client: ‘stay seated, button your lip, and win.’ This article seeks to plot a path for advocates to winning in large scale discrimination claims in the employment tribunal, based on the writer’s long experience of the ET and, more recently, briefs to act for the respondents in two high stakes cases, AB v A Chief Constableand Aubrey v The Chief Constable of Northumbria Police. The suggested lessons apply to all types of large-scale claim in the ET.
One of the biggest and most controversial senior employee discrimination claims in recent years, Aubrey v Chief Constable of Northumbria Police, has come to a close, at least in relation to liability. The Employment Tribunal gave judgment for the Respondent in November 2016, which was confirmed in the Employment Appeal Tribunal in May 2017.
The case is exceptional because of its complexity, the value of damages had Ms Aubrey been successful, and the high reputational stakes for all involved. The successful respondent was represented by Angus Moon QC and Aaron Rathmell of the Serjeants’ Inn employment law team.