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Employee brings multiple discrimination claims without merit

7 June 2013: ‘Will no one Rid Me of this Turbulent Priest?’ Thomas Beckett may have got himself murdered in the Cathedral in 1170 after King Henry uttered the famous line quoted above, however for modern day employers, this solution is not available.

In Woodhouse v West North West Homes Leeds reported this week, the EAT considered the claim of Mr Woodhouse who brought ten internal grievances of race discrimination in four years, plus seven employment tribunal claims against his employer.  These claims and complaints were mostly found to be empty and without any proper evidential basis.

No doubt the employer was sorely tried by Mr Woodhouse, as they eventually dismissed him, citing a breakdown in trust and confidence.  He sued claiming victimisation and the employer argued that they would have dismissed anyone, regardless of race, who brought such numerous and meritless complaints.

However the EAT concluded that his grievances and tribunal claims were ‘protected acts’ and that he was dismissed as a result. He brought the complaints and grievances in good faith (bad faith claims would not be protected acts). As a result, he succeeded in his victimisation claim.

Had the employer been able to persuade the Tribunal that he made the complaints in bad faith, the outcome of the case would have been quite different. However for the employer, this kind of situation appears impossibly difficult to deal with.


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