10 May 2013
Many employees base discrimination claims about the general gripes about how they are treated. Some employees will throw in all claims they can possibly think of, kitchen sink and all and call it ‘discrimination’. However in the recent case of Durrani v LB Ealing, the EAT held that vague or non-specific complaint of ‘discrimination’ were not sufficient to bring a victimisation under the Equality Act.
Mr Durrani, a British man of Pakistani origin, was made redundant the day before a TUPE transfer following allegations about improper behaviour by him and periods of sickness absence. He claimed that the real reason for his dismissal was not redundancy but his race, that he had been harassed on racial grounds and that he was victimised as a result of making a complaint about discrimination.
The Tribunal dismissed complaints that Mr Durrani had been discriminated against on the grounds of race. Mr Durrani appealed stating that he had referred to having been discriminated against during his employment, and said he had suffered detriment as a result.
The EAT rejecting his appeal. He had not used the word “discriminated” in any sense other than that he had been unfairly treated and had never linked that treatment to race. When given the opportunity to say it was on the ground of race, he effectively explained it was not. There was no complaint which could be understood as one of race discrimination and hence his claim for victimisation had rightly been dismissed.
The Durrani case is a reminder that it can be a mistake to confuse general gripes and discrimination claims, though many Claimants often do so. It pays to carefully analyse any such claims and make applications to the Tribunal to clarify or limit the issues where appropriate.