Court of Appeal Finds that Fairness of Decision Depends on Decision-Maker’s Actual Knowledge

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Dismissing an employee because they have made protected disclosures will be automatically unfair under English law. The Court of Appeal found on October 20 that a dismissal will not be automatically unfair when the person who made the decision to dismiss was unaware of the employee’s protected disclosures. Determining the decision-maker’s actual knowledge, rather than knowledge that ought to be attributed to them, was the correct approach.

 

Court of Appeal Clarifies Burden of Proof in Discrimination Cases

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

On November 24, the Court of Appeal confirmed that in discrimination cases the claimant must show a prima facie case of discrimination. The burden of proof then shifts to the respondent who must show they did not discriminate. This restores the orthodox view of the burden of proof in discrimination cases following uncertainty caused by an earlier decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal that the claimant did not have to show prima facie discrimination.

 

Court of Appeal Finds that Gender Segregation in School was Direct Discrimination

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

The Court of Appeal found on October 13 that segregation of children based on sex in a Muslim faith school amounted to direct discrimination. The High Court had found that both boys and girls were equally disadvantaged by being denied the opportunity to socialize with each other, finding that “separate but equal” treatment could amount to discrimination.

 

High Court Finds Employer Vicariously Liable for Rogue Employee’s Data Breach

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

On December 1, the High Court found for the first time that an employer was vicariously liable for an employee’s unauthorized breach of data protection law. The employee in question was employed as a senior IT internal auditor and had access to a range of personal data about employees. He stole data, covering some 100,000 employees, and uploaded it to the Internet. He was convicted of fraud and sentenced to eight years imprisonment. The High Court found the employer to be liable for the employee’s data breach because there was a sufficient connection between the responsibility the employer had given him and his wrongful conduct. Quantum has yet to be assessed, but is likely to be significant.