The EAT has recently held that a tribunal was right to decide that an employer's refusal to consider job applications from candidates requiring a work permit was not justified.

Mr Purohit, an Indian national who had obtained a first class undergraduate degree and masters qualification, applied online for a training contract with Osborne Clarke, a firm of solicitors. Having indicated on the form that he did not have a UK work permit, a message appeared on-screen stating that the firm were 'unable to accept applications from candidates who require a work permit to take up employment in the UK'.

Mr Purohit lodged claims with the tribunal alleging both direct and indirect race discrimination. The tribunal dismissed the claim for direct discrimination but decided that he had suffered indirect race discrimination on the ground of nationality. By failing to test its assumption that it would not succeed in obtaining work permits, Osborne Clarke had not met the standard of objective justification for its practice of refusing to accept applications from candidates who would require such a permit. Accordingly, Mr Purohit had suffered indirect race discrimination.

Osborne Clarke Services v Purohit