Case round up

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Case round-up by Eversheds 020 7919 4500Burden of proof had not shifted Pratt v Sanden International (Europe) Limited, EAT, [2003] All ER (D)359 Pratt was engaged as a general and personnel administrator. Herresponsibilities included the maintenance of personnel records, employeetraining and related personnel matters, although prior to her appointment shehad minimal experience in that field. The company subsequently appointed amanager of human resources administration, which provoked resentment andaggressive, unco-operative conduct by Pratt. The company tried to improve working relations, but Pratt eventually leftwork and refused to attend subsequent disciplinary proceedings brought toaddress her unauthorised absence. She brought claims of constructive dismissal,race and sex discrimination and equal pay. She was unsuccessful at thetribunal, but appealed against the sex discrimination decision, claiming thetribunal had incorrectly applied the burden of proof. The Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) considered earlier case law andconcluded that the burden of proof only shifts to the employer once a ‘crediblesuggestion’ of disproportionate adverse impact has been raised. Pratt had toshow that she had suffered a detriment and had been less favourably treated,before an inference could be drawn that the treatment arose because of her sex.Only then would the burden of proof shift to the employer. It did not in thiscase since she had only shown a detriment. Comparators not valid Matthews & others v Kent & Medway Towns Fire Authority &others, EAT, [2003] IRLB 724 Matthews and his colleagues were retained firefighters who complained theywere treated less favourably than ‘whole-time’ firefighters by being deniedaccess to the fireman’s pension scheme and other benefits. To make a legitimatecomparison under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less FavourableTreatment) Regulations 2000, the part-time employee and their full-timecomparator must both be employed, ‘under the same type of contract’ and must beengaged ‘in the same or broadly similar work’ having regard to their level ofqualification, skills and experience. The tribunal concluded that the retained firefighters were employed undercontracts of a different type and that they were not engaged in the same orbroadly similar work, meaning their claim failed. The EAT dismissed the employees’ appeal. The tribunal had found somesimilarities but a larger number of differences between the work of retainedand whole-time firefighters, and a number of differences in their contractualterms. Whole-time firefighters had additional duties and a higher level ofskills and qualifications than the retained firefighters. The tribunal’s decision that firefighters were employed under differenttypes of contract and that it was reasonable for the employer to treat themdifferently had therefore been based on ample evidence. Case round upOn 25 Nov 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more