Discrimination claims in Great Britain usually concern a claim for less favourable treatment because of a prohibited characteristic, such as race, nationality or national origin, gender, age, sexual orientation, disability, religion, and belief.
There are additional claims available under discrimination law, such as indirect discrimination, harassment, victimisation, and particular disability discrimination claims such as a failure to make reasonable adjustments.
Claims can include both treatment suffered during employment and after termination.
Compensation awards in discrimination and whistleblowing claims are unlimited i.e. they are not subject to a maximum cap like unfair dismissal. In addition, injury to feelings and injury to health awards can be made.
As in the case of unfair dismissal, an employee claiming that their dismissal is as a result of discrimination needs to show loss of earnings and is under a duty to reduce their losses by finding other work.
Generally, a discrimination claim must be filed in the Employment Tribunal within three months less one day of the act complained of or the last of a series of acts.
Recent case law suggests that where an employee lives or works partly or wholly outside of Great Britain, a Tribunal should consider:
- where the employee lives and works
- where the employer is established
- what laws govern the employment relationship in other respects
- where tax is paid
- all the other facts and circumstances, when assessing if British equality laws are in play.
The Tribunal will then decide if the employment is “sufficiently connected” to Great Britain so that British discrimination laws should be deemed to apply.
Employers Based Overseas
Even if British law applies in principle, the Employment Tribunals only have the legal power to deal with claims where the employer or one of the employers resides or carries on its business in Great Britain.
A company “resides” in Great Britain if its registered office is within the territorial limits, or if its central management and control are exercised there.
Whether or not an employer “carries on its business” in Great Britain, is a question of fact for a Tribunal to decide. When considering this question, relevant factors include, where the company has its administrative base and where its contracts are made, not only where its customers are based, particularly if the company supplies goods bought over the internet.
In Great Britain, questions of jurisdiction in the Employment Tribunal are both legally complex and highly fact-sensitive.