Victimisation: was offensive comment a 'protected disclosure' or racist act?

15 January 2013

The recent case of Pasab Ltd t/a Jhoots Pharmacy v Woods demonstrates the difficulty of applying discrimination law in practice.

At a formal meeting with her employer, the claimant employee said the employer was effectively ‘a little Sikh club’. The employer terminated her employment.

Was she dismissed because she was claiming to be the victim of discrimination? Or was she dismissed because it was thought that she herself was a racist?   

The EAT has overturned the original tribunal findings of victimisation, direct discrimination and harassment. As the claimant admitted making the remark and it had been proved on the facts that that was the reason for her dismissal and nothing else, her claims all failed.

Point to note:

This case demonstrates how each case is always decided on its facts and a detailed analysis of cause and effect. What if the claimant had said ‘You are treating me differently because I am a Muslim?’ Very small differences in the evidence may lead to dramatically different outcomes.

Other articles related to the UK Employment Law Update for Janaury 2013:

> Termination date: Employee must accept employers repudiation in order to terminate contract

> Employee's duty of fidelity while on garden leave

> Redundancy dismissal while on maternity leave - is it fair?