Case round-ups by Eversheds 020 7919 4500Is a like-for-like job comparison enough to establish discrimination? Shamoon v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (NorthernIreland), House of Lords  All ER (D) 410 Shamoon was a chief inspector in the Urban Traffic Division of the RoyalUlster Constabulary (RUC). Following criticisms of her staff appraisals, shewas removed from her appraisal role, although male chief inspectors in othertraffic divisions (who had not been similarly criticised) continued to doappraisals. Shamoon claimed the removal of her responsibilities constituted lessfavourable treatment (under the Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order1976, which largely replicates the Sex Discrimination Act 1976). She pointed tothe male chief inspectors as appropriate comparators and to their differenttreatment as evidence of discrimination. The tribunal accepted that approach,and found in her favour, but on appeal, that view was overturned. Shamoonappealed to the House of Lords. The appeal was dismissed. In discrimination cases, tribunals often considerthe difference in treatment of a comparator before going on to consider whetherthe claimant’s less favourable treatment arose due to discrimination. In many cases, however, such a two-tiered approach is inappropriate. Todetermine whether the other chief inspectors were appropriate comparators inthis case, the tribunal could not avoid addressing whether Shamoon was treatedas she was on the grounds of her sex. By failing to do so, it did not considerhow a male chief inspector in the same circumstances as Shamoon would have beentreated – her colleagues’ circumstances were different in that they had notbeen subjected to complaints. The House of Lords therefore held there was noevidence in the tribunal’s decision which justified a finding that thetreatment received by Shamoon was on the grounds of her sex. Procedure, procedure, procedure… Re P, House of Lords,  UKHL 8 The statutory requirements in respect of strike action are comprehensive,but mistakes do occur. P (whose identity is protected) was a school pupil. Dueto his behaviour, he was permanently expelled from class but was laterreinstated on appeal. Following a successful ballot by NASUWT in favour of strike action, P wastaught separately. He subsequently brought a claim against the trade unionalleging that its statutory immunity from such actions was lost because theteacher’s concerns did not constitute a “trade dispute” (as requiredby TULCRA 1992). He also contended that the ballot for industrial action wasflawed as the union had overlooked two recent joiners. P was unsuccessful allthe way to the House of Lords. The appeal was dismissed. The statutory definition of a trade dispute coversany genuine dispute between employers and employees relating wholly or mainlyto the job the staff are employed to do, or the terms and conditions on whichthey are employed. Also, although the number of union members at the school wassmall and it would not have been difficult for the trade union to ensure allappropriate recipients received their ballot papers, an immaterial andaccidental failure to send a single ballot paper should not reasonablyinvalidate a ballot. Such failures should not reasonably be fatal and in thiscase the two omissions made no practical difference to the result. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Case round-upsOn 18 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.