Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

The case of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust v Browne concerns the inference of discrimination in a case of direct race discrimination and victimisation, and the burden of proof in cases of discrimination. Although this case was advanced under the ‘old’ legislation (the Race Relations Act 1976) it provides a useful examination of when inferences of discrimination can be shown, and the burden of proof in discrimination in cases under the new legislation (the Equality Act 2010) as well.

In the case of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS v Browne the Claimant was subjected to an investigation on the grounds of misconduct and capability. The Claimant was a Divisional Director of the Respondent, responsible for financial affairs. Two other Divisional Directors (both of whom were white British) were also investigated. They were not told that their position was untenable and were not told that their jobs were in jeopardy. Further, they were not subjected to the capability procedure. The Claimant was told this told that his position was untenable, that he may lose his job, and he was subjected to the capability procedure.

The Claimant subsequently submitted a claim for direct race discrimination and victimisation under the Race Relations Act 1976 (as well as for unfair dismissal). The Claimant succeeded on all three counts at the original Employment Tribunal. It was found that the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust’s disciplinary procedure was insufficient and was in fact a sham. As a result of this, it was determined that the Respondent did not have a genuine and honest belief in the Claimant’s guilt. The Claimant had therefore been unfairly dismissed. Further, the Respondent had discriminated against the Claimant and subsequently victimised him as a result of the Employment Tribunal proceedings.

The Respondent appealed the Employment Tribunal’s decision on three grounds relating to the discrimination and victimisation, but did not appeal the unfair dismissal element. The grounds of the appeal were as follows:

  1. There was a failure to construct a true hypothetical comparator; and
  2. There was a failure to attribute the cause of the differential treatment afforded to the Claimant to discrimination rather than any other cause; and
  3. There were insufficient grounds to support a finding of victimisation.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected all three grounds of the appeal.

On the first ground, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the Employment Tribunal had correctly constructed a hypothetical comparator by asking the following questions:

  1. What would the attributes of a comparator be?
  2. Would such a comparator have been treated differently (to the Claimant)?
  3. Was that difference in treatment attributable to discrimination?

The original ET had constructed a hypothetical white comparator and concluded that such an employee would have been treated differently to the Claimant on the grounds of his race. Important evidence on this point was a combination of, firstly, the difference in the way in which the white Divisional Directors were treated, secondly, the statistical evidence that the Claimant put in front of the Tribunal relating to the disproportionate number of Afro-Caribbean employees that were dismissed in relation to the number employed and, thirdly, the unreasonable treatment of the Claimant. The ET was therefore entitled to draw the inference of discrimination on the primary facts.

On the second ground, the Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Trust stated that the ET had failed to take into account non-discriminatory reasons for the Claimant’s treatment. Again, the way in which the Claimant was treated by the Respondent, the differential treatment afforded to the white Divisional Directors, the summary rejection of the Claimant’s grievances, and the ‘worrying’ statistics (as well as some ‘dodgy’ evidence given by the Respondent’s witnesses) entitled the ET to draw the inference of discrimination on the primary facts.

On the third ground, the Employment Appeals Tribunal rejected the Respondent’s arguments on the same grounds as above – there were sufficient primary facts from which the ET was entitled to draw an inference of discrimination.

The important point to make here is that (addressing the current law) the Claimant simply has to make a prima facie case for discrimination on the primary facts. It is then the Respondent’s responsibility to produce evidence to refute discrimination as the reason. It is therefore very important that any and all evidence is gathered and that grievances are submitted. A simple equation is that the more (credible) evidence that is gathered of discrimination, the more likely that an Employment Tribunal claim will be successful.


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 →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry


    4.79 Average

    339 Reviews

    James B

    Great and prompt service- would recommend and use again!

    Posted 9 hours ago

    Emma L

    Excellent service. From start the team where efficient and helpful, the whole process was made easy on a very stressful and upsetting situation. They worked well to support my situation and negotiate. Would highly recommend. Thank you to Chris, Sacha and the team.

    Posted 10 hours ago

    Brian H

    I must say, not seeing any of you and doing all on-line works very well. Very pleased with the service and would recommend you. Fantastic service. Many thanks Brian Haines

    Posted 11 hours ago

    Sheenu A

    Professionals with excellent quality of work.

    Posted 6 days ago

    Maris T

    I recommend Redman's Solicitors. Chris was very helpful and informative. He provided a speedy and efficient service at a reasonable price.

    Posted 1 week ago


    quick response, friendly staff, my issue was smoothly done. superb

    Posted 2 weeks ago


    Overall I was very satisfied with the service I received. Right from making initial contact to being contacted by Chris Hadrill. He was easy to talk to, friendly and professional and gave sound advice. I would certainly use Redman's again. Thank you for all your help, Chris. I would rate my experience as 5 star.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Jane K

    4 stars for quality of advise. the team are good but it feels rushed sometimes and hard to contact.

    Posted 4 weeks ago

    Arabella B

    I am so grateful to Caroline Lewis at Redmans Solicitor’s for helping me with my Unfair Dismissal Case. I was seriously impressed how easy Redmans made the whole case, and am very happy with my Settlement. I have recommended your firm to at least 5 people in the last 3 months.. Thank you Caroline and everyone at Redmans. You are Brilliant .

    Posted 1 month ago


    Highly professional and efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Tanya T

    I had the pleasure of Chris and Sacha’s experience with a work matter. They made me feel at ease with the process and explained everything thoroughly. Would happily recommend Redmans especially Chris and use them if needed I’m the future. Thank you!

    Posted 1 month ago


    I used the services of Redmans solicitors and was a quick outstanding service I engaged them in a settlement agreement after been made redundant extremely professional at all that was done and would definetly use them again

    Posted 1 month ago

    Adrian A

    Spot on support, enough to get the matter at hand sorted. No beating around the bush, no nonsense - got the job done and we all moved on.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mark Q

    Five Stars I was most impressed by the attention, courtesy, speed and above all, professionalism in dealing with my Settlement Agreement. I would certainly have no problem in recommending this firm to anyone in need of their services.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Ade A

    I was surprisingly impressed by how Redmans Solicitors handle my case. From the moment I call them to the absolute end of my case, they always look after my best interest.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Malcolm P

    they were there when others were not

    Posted 1 month ago


    Excellent service all the way through from start to finish. Really great support and guidance from the team, they secured the offer that I wanted. I can't recommend Redmans highly enough and will be sure to use their services again should the need arise.

    Posted 1 month ago


    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 2 months ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 2 months ago


    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago