FACTS The claimant, X, is a Muslim, of Moroccan origin, who is a French citizen. Y is her twin sister. They cannot be named because the tribunal made a restricted reporting order as this was a sex discrimination case. We restrict our coverage to X, who began employment with Tradition Securities and Futures (TSF) in October 2001 in Paris. She worked in Paris for three years until October 2004, when she transferred to work in TSF's London office. She worked in London for a further two years until November 2006. In employment tribunal proceedings lodged in March and May 2007, X alleged that while working in both Paris and London she had been subject to sexual harassment, direct sex discrimination and victimisation.
As a preliminary issue, the employment tribunal had to consider if it had jurisdiction to determine X's complaints in relation to the alleged discrimination suffered by her while working in Paris. At the relevant time, the Sex Discrimination Act provided protection for a woman "employed at an establishment in Great Britain". Employment was regarded as being at an establishment in Great Britain unless the employee did her work wholly outside Great Britain.
DECISION The employment tribunal decided that it did have jurisdiction to hear X's complaints about the alleged discrimination in Paris. The tribunal took the view that the conduct in Paris was potentially part of a continuing act of discrimination extending up to and including X's period of employment in London. If there was a continuing act rather than a series of unconnected acts - which could only be decided after hearing full evidence - the tribunal believed it did have jurisdiction in relation to both the London and Paris allegations.
But the EAT overturned the tribunal's decision. The concept of a continuing act is a statutory creation that relates to the time limit for bringing a claim and has no application to the issue of jurisdiction. The appropriate test was to consider whether, at the time of each act of alleged discrimination, X did her work wholly outside Great Britain. At the time of the Paris complaints, X had spent the whole of her employment in France. In relation to those allegations, therefore, she could not be regarded as being "employed at an establishment in Great Britai