Lords give former employees discrimination rights

A new House of Lords decision
means employees can now bring claims against their former employers for acts of
discrimination or victimisation which take place after employment has ended.

The House of Lords heard
appeals in cases straddling all three discrimination statutes – sex, race and

It held that  where the alleged discrimination is based on
sex, race or disability, the employee may have a claim if the employer does
something after employment has ended that amounts to less favourable treatment.

Previously, only staff who had
been victimised on the grounds of their sex had any real chance of success in
such a claim.

The decision will typically
cover the giving or withholding of references by employers, or the conduct of
appeals against dismissals where the original dismissal decision has already
taken effect.

The judgment stresses that it
will be very difficult for employees to prove that an employer who has given
them an honest, but unfavourable reference, has treated them less favourably
than they would have treated another employee.

Michael Millar

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