In Clyde & Co LLP v Bates van Winkelhof, a member of a UK law firm who had been seconded to, and employed by, a local firm in Tanzania complained to an employment tribunal in the UK of unlawful sex and/or pregnancy discrimination under the Equality Act.

The Equality Act is silent on its territorial application but the Court of Appeal upheld the tribunal decision that it could hear the sex discrimination claim despite the fact that she worked principally in Tanzania, on the basis that there was a sufficiently strong connection with Great Britain.  The Court agreed that the same approach to territorial jurisdiction should be taken for discrimination claims as for unfair dismissal, as set out in Ravat v Halliburton Manufacturing and Services Ltd (a case we covered in the April newsletter): an individual can bring a claim here if their employment has a stronger connection with GB than with the foreign country where they are working.

For someone working entirely outside the UK, the assumption would be that the place where the work is carried out would be the appropriate jurisdiction, unless there are factors which are sufficiently powerful to "displace the territorial pull".  But in this case, where the claimant worked for at least part of the time in GB, she simply had to show that the connection with GB was sufficiently strong to make it appropriate for the tribunal here to deal with the claim.  Since she was able to do this, her sex discrimination claim was allowed to proceed.