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.


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 first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    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


    4.77 Average

    205 Reviews

    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

    Posted 4 weeks ago


    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

    Posted 2 months ago

    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Rosa B

    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 2 months ago


    Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Alkhas K

    Excellent service.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Mathias G

    Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Mark W

    Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

    Posted 4 months ago


    Posted 4 months ago


    I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

    Posted 4 months ago


    Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

    Posted 4 months ago

    Wavenie B

    They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

    Posted 4 months ago

    Christina P

    Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

    Posted 4 months ago


    Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

    Posted 4 months ago

    Helene L

    They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

    Posted 4 months ago

    Sara R

    Very helpful and wonderful advice

    Posted 4 months ago