Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

TIn the case of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust v Mr Jackson & Others, UKEAT/0090/18/BA the Employment Appeal Tribunal (the ‘EAT”) held that the Employment Tribunal (the ‘ET’) had applied the wrong test to the issue of causation when upholding an employee’s claim for unfavourable treatment because she exercised her statutory right to take maternity leave.

The factual background of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust v Mr Jackson & Others

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (the ‘Respondent’) had a Health and Wellbeing Service which was decommissioned. 

On 26 July 2016 Mrs Pease attended a meeting to discuss forthcoming redundancies.  The day after, she was put on the At-Risk Register.  On 28 July 2016 an e-mail concerning the redundancy process was sent to Mrs Pease’s work e-mail address.  She did not receive it as she was not checking her work e-mail as she was on maternity leave.  She eventually received the information on the 4 August and was not in fact disadvantaged in any way by the short delay.

Mrs Pease went on to be dismissed by reason of redundancy and subsequently she made a claim in the ET under section 18(4) of the Equality Act 2010 (the “EqA”).

The Law

Section 18(4) of the Equality Act 2010 provides that:

‘A person (A) discriminates against a woman if A treats her unfavourable because she is exercising or seeking to exercise, or has exercised or sought to exercise, the right to ordinary or additional maternity leave.’

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal (“ET”) upheld Mrs Pease’s claim. They held that the delay in contacting her was a detriment and unfavourable treatment because it arose as a consequence of her exercising her right to maternity leave.  She was awarded £5,000 as compensation for her ‘section 18’ claim.

The Respondent appealed to the EAT arguing that the ET had not properly approached the question of causation.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) held that the ET was wrong in its approach to causation. In doing so, they referred to the case of Indigo design Build & Management Limited v Anor v Martinez and the decision of Judge Richardson.  In that case, the EAT had considered the question of causation in the context of section 18 of the EqA and stated that an ET must ask itself the standard ‘reason why’ question in relation to why the unfavourable treatment took place. 

The EAT found that the ET made no finding to the effect that the characteristic of being on maternity leave had operated on anyone’s mind when sending the e-mail to Mrs Pease’s work e-mail address.  They also found that the ET had incorrectly applied a ‘but for’ test; but for being on maternity leave, Mrs Pease would not have been disadvantaged.  Finally, they found that the underlying reason why Ms Pease was e-mailed incorrectly on her work e-mail address may have simply been an administrative error and as such, whilst unfavourable treatment, was not because the decision makers were in any way influenced by the fact that the Claimant was on maternity leave.

As a result, they held that the finding of discrimination could not stand and remitted it back to the ET that originally heard Mrs Pease’s case to consider the case again, directing themselves properly in relation to causation.

Our solicitors’ views on the case of South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust v Mr Jackson & Others

Sacha Barrett, a Senior Associate in the employment department at Redmans, made the following comment on the case: “A practical point employers can take away from this case is to  agree with pregnant employees, before they go on maternity leave, how they wish to be contacted whilst on it and update systems accordingly so as to avoid the possibility of claims like this one’.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust v Mr Jackson & Others UKEAT/0090/18/BA can be found here.

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

4.76 Average

164 Reviews

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Davinder P

Good Service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

Posted 3 weeks ago

Ricky D

Very satisfying to be assured of such attention and professionalism.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Excellent service - thankyou

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Efficient, timely and friendly support and advice

Posted 3 weeks ago

Ahmed S

They are always on hand when you need them and provide support even when its not necessary.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Nemen S

Wonderful experience.Chris was very responsive and provided an excellent service. A real professional who I would recommend to anyone

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Their guidance was clear and they provided me with all the information I required. Friendly yet professional

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris @ Redmans assisted me with an employment issue. Firstly, he was very proactive in coming back to my initial enquiry and then helped to clearly lay out the options that I had in relation to my position. He then assisted with the preparation of my case, which led to a very satisfactory outcome. I would highly recommend the quality of service & professionalism offered by Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Great service

Posted 3 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris was very effective and decisive in dealing with my matter. I felt guided, and the pressure to make decisions was taken off my shoulders; he knew what needed to be done and I was happy to follow his advice. The result of the legal dispute was a great success for me. He is also kind and personable. The only thing that I would say it could be improved, is the accuracy of cost estimation at the beginning: not many activites, that could not have been forseen had to take place, but costs went up more than double in the end. Overall very good and trustworthy. I would definately recommend and use Redmans services again.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Liz P

An excellent professional service was provided by Chris Hadrill and Mel Chin. Efficient and trustworthy - would highly recommend this company.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Redmans Solicitors were great. They were able to advice me quickly and efficiently! I would recommend them, as a good solicitors to use.

Posted 1 month ago