The claimant in Naeem v Secretary of State for Justice, an imam, had been employed as a prison chaplain in 2004. The incremental pay system for prison employees was based on length of service. The average basic pay of Muslim chaplains on the chaplaincy pay band was lower than the average basic pay of Christian chaplains because the Prison Service had only begun to employ Muslim chaplains in 2002.
The Court of Appeal decided that the claimant had not suffered indirect race or religious discrimination. The only cause of the disparity in remuneration was the more recent start-dates of the Muslim chaplains, and that was not the result of anything related to them as Muslims; it reflected the fact that there had been no need for the services of Muslim chaplains before 2002. This changed as the proportion of Muslim prisoners grew. Since the shorter length of service was not the result of any discriminatory practice, the difference in pay did not amount to indirect discrimination.
This decision follows the line taken in Essop v Home Office earlier this year, where the Court of Appeal held that, in an indirect discrimination claim, in addition to showing membership of a disadvantaged group, a claimant must also demonstrate the reason why the employer's practice has disadvantaged the individual employee.