Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the case of B v A UKEAT/0450/06/RN the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) upheld the Employment Tribunal’s ruling that the dismissal of a female employee by her male former lover (a solicitor) did not constitute sex discrimination.

The facts

B, a male, was the principal solicitor in a small law practice. A, a female, was employed as a secretary by B’s law firm on 1 November 2002. She was promoted to the position of B’s personal assistant in December 2002 and by the end of 2003 they were in a sexual relationship. By December 2004 A had started a relationship with another man (which B was unaware of) and her relationship with B was faltering. In February 2005 B witnessed A with the other man and dismissed her the same day.

A submitted claims for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, and direct sex discrimination to the Employment Tribunal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal found that the reason for B’s dismissal of A was jealousy and driven by the discovery of A’s relationship with the other man. The Tribunal found that A had been dismissed without any reason that could be regarded as potentially fair and that a fair process had not been followed. The Tribunal therefore found that A had been unfairly dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal also found that B had discriminated against A on the grounds of her gender, finding that her dismissal would not have occurred but for the fact that she was a woman.

B appealed the Employment Tribunal’s findings on sex discrimination.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The EAT upheld B’s dismissal, finding that the Employment Tribunal had applied the wrong legal test: the EAT held that the crucial and first question a Tribunal should ask was “why was it that A received the less favourable treatment in question?” and that the clear answer here was that her dismissal was not related to her gender, but because B was jealous of her relationship with a third party.

The EAT further held that an incorrect comparator had been used by the Tribunal and that the correct comparator would have been a homosexual male employer and a homosexual male employee. The EAT held that, should the Tribunal have applied the correct comparator test, on the Tribunal’s findings a homosexual employee would have received exactly the same treatment; he would have been dismissed when B learned of the other relationship.

Our comment

It is clear from this ruling, and a number of previous rulings, that the dismissal of a woman (or a man) because of a breakdown in the sexual relationship that they were having with a colleague will not usually constitute sex discrimination (as it is generally difficult to argue that a homosexual male employee would have been dismissed in the same circumstances). Depending on the circumstances, however, a woman may be able to make a claim for sexual harassment (section 26(2) Equality Act 2010) or gender-related harassment (section 26(1) Equality Act 2010) instead.

The judgment on B v A UKEAT/0450/06/RN can be found in the link.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.63 Average

30 Reviews

Anonymous

Immediate response to my initial enquiry. Very clear throughout the whole process and thorough and great communication which worked really well during quite a stressful time. Chris Hadrill was extremely helpful and made me feel at ease.

Posted 2 months ago

Nick D

I received a very professional service from Chris. The advice given really helped to leave me comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. Would be happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service from initial contact to deliverables.

Posted 3 months ago

Virginia K

Yes, Chris Hadrill answered all my questions and I feel more confident with my current situation

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

Posted 3 months ago

Andy W

Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 4 months ago

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 7 months ago

Steven

Chris Hadrill was very professional and responsive. I would highly recommend him

Posted 7 months ago

Dinah

Very Efficient, with very quick email reply’s. I had a matter that needed resolving within a very short space of time and Redmans Solicitors were great with dealing with my matter quickly.

Posted 8 months ago

Ankar

At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 8 months ago

Anonymous

Clear, concise advice and guidance delivered by an experienced and very capable solicitor, within the timelines required

Posted 8 months ago

Anonymous

Very efficient service. I never had to wIt for more than a day for a reply to any of my queries and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

Posted 8 months ago

Anonymous

Very timely, thorough and helpful advice. Friendly and considerate of the needs of the client

Posted 8 months ago

Anonymous

Very prompt and attention to detail. Thank you for the service

Posted 8 months ago

Chris

Couldn’t be happier with how Redmans successfully handled our seemingly tricky case. By being clear and detailed every step of the way, with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, they made it an informative and eye-opening process, taking the stress out of the situation and ultimately delivered what you would want from such a service. I fully appreciate everything they have done, and if I am ever in need of such services in the future, they will be the first number I contact. Excellent.

Posted 8 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent work delivered with great quality

Posted 8 months ago

Dominic

Chris Hadrill was a great help both in terms of his advice and his expertise. He explained my options to me clearly and concisely enabling me to quickly make the right decision for me in the circumstance. I would not hesitate to recommend Chris or Redmans to friends or colleagues, and would certainly make Redmans my first port of call should I require a similar service in the future.

Posted 8 months ago

Kurt

Redmans gave excellent advice and helped me understand everything in clear concepts. Thank you!

Posted 8 months ago

Anonymous

Resolved my issues

Posted 8 months ago