Sex Discrimination

Employment Law - Employment Lawyers – Sex Discrimination – Victimisation – Burden of Proof


The recent case of Pothecary Witham Weld and Another v Bullimore and Another [2010] involved the Employment Appeals Ttibunal (“EAT”) confirming that s.63A of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 operates to reverse the burden of proof in sex discrimination cases where victimisation is concerned. In the case in question, it was held to be sufficient for the tribunal to have reached the conclusion that the employer in the circumstances had been unable to demonstrate that it was "not significantly influenced" by the fact that a former employee had previously brought discrimination proceedings against it when the employer provided her with an unfavourable reference approximately four years later.

Furthermore, it was held that the decision in the case of Oyarce v Cheshire County Council, which provided that the burden of proof is not reversed in a victimisation case, only is applicable to circumstances involving the Race Relations Act 1976, and not to any victimisation claims under the other legislation concerning discrimination.

In addition, the EAT also provided guidance in respect of the effect of the ’honest and reasonable employer’ test in victimisation cases. The guidance was provided due to two apparently conflicting decisions made by the House of Lords.

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© RT COOPERS, 2010. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.


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