Employment tribunal and court judgments | January 2021

Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover

The importance of diversity and inclusion

In the case of Taylor v Jaguar Land Rover many lessons can be learned. This case, although not binding precedent, has blazed a trail for not only promoting inclusivity in the workplace but also showing that individuals who identify as non-binary and gender fluid can still be protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.

The claimant was an employee at Jaguar Land Rover ("JLR") and had worked there for over 20 years as an engineer. In 2017, the Claimant informed JLR that she identified as gender fluid/non-binary. Subsequent abusive behaviour and bullying from her colleagues ensued and there was a general lack of support from JLR's management. The claims for harassment, direct discrimination and victimisation on the grounds of gender reassignment were brought alongside a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.

JLR defended the claim and stated that the claimant's non-binary identity meant she did not fall within the remit of "gender reassignment". The tribunal unanimously found that this was not the case as "it was very clear that Parliament intended gender reassignment to be a spectrum moving away from birth sex, and that a person could be at any point on that spectrum […] whether they described themselves as “non-binary” […] gender fluid […] or “transitioning”" and all claims were upheld.

It is important for employers to be aware that diversity and inclusion is an important element of any workplace but also actually continue to educate your workforce to ensure that everyone can promote a considerate and inclusive workplace. This is an area of progression and so it would be wise to ensure all your employment practices, training and policies are up to scratch around current equality and inclusion standards. If you need any assistance in reviewing or creating policy documents, please contact the employment team.

Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd & anor v Kocur & anor

EAT rules on various issues under Agency Workers Regulations

In Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd and anor v Kocur and anor, the EAT has provided a wide-ranging ruling on various aspects of agency workers' rights under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010.

The right in Regulation 13 concerns a right to be notified of the vacancies on the same basis as directly recruited employees, this right is to the same opportunity which is satisfied via the provision of information (equal to that provided to direct employees) about the permanent vacancies. The EAT held that the right to be informed by the hirer of vacancies does not mean that the agency worker has a right to be entitled to apply for, and be considered for, internal vacancies on the same terms as directly recruited employees. The agency workers were supplied by the Respondent to Royal Mail, who prevented them applying for vacancies unless they were advertised externally.

UCL v Brown

Detriment for taking part in union activities

In the case of UCL v Brown, UCL decided to delete an unmoderated email list, which the union had used to communicate with workers. Following a vote, Mr Brown created a new email list on behalf of the union. UCL found out and told him to delete it. He refused and was disciplined by being given a formal warning. He brought a claim alleging detrimental treatment for taking part in union activities.

The ET upheld Mr Brown’s claim holding that his actions were union activities, they were protected, and the purpose of UCL’s actions was to penalise him for taking part in those activities.

UCL appealed to the EAT, who dismissed the appeal holding that there was no dispute that UCL's ‘sole or main motive’ in imposing the formal oral warning was to discipline Mr Brown for refusing to delete the email distribution list, which was a union activity, and Mr Brown therefore qualified for protection.

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