Decision: In Thompson v The London Central Bus Company, Mr Thompson brought a claim for victimisation when he was dismissed for lending his high visibility vest to another employee. The Claimant said that he had only been subjected to disciplinary proceedings because, in the mind of his employer, he had been associated with the protected acts of some other employees who had alleged that the employer was in breach of the Equality Act 2010. At a preliminary hearing, the Tribunal had said that the wording in the Equality Act had to be read as saying that victimisation occurs where a person is subjected to a detriment” “because of ” a protected act. That act could be another person’s protected act, not that of the Claimant. The EAT held that the evidence of the link between the Claimant and the person who had carried out the protected act would be relevant in determining whether the Claimant was subjected to a detriment because of a protected act.
Impact:This could significantly widen the scope of victimisation law if Claimants allege victimisation because of the protected acts of others. However, it will remain necessary for a Claimant to show a causal link between the alleged action and the protected act. Note the similarity between this and the whistle blowing legislation. Claimants may prefer a victimisation route in appropriate cases as they will not be required to show that the protected disclosure was in the public interest.