Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2014 position: 81

Immigration status does not equate to race

Two migrant domestic workers from Nigeria, who suffered abuse, exploitation and ill treatment at the hands of their UK employers, brought claims of direct and indirect race discrimination in the Employment Tribunal (ET). One initially succeeded in her claim of direct race discrimination and the other lost both claims. Both cases were appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which held that the claimants had not been directly or indirectly discriminated against because of their nationality/race. The cases were appealed to the Court of Appeal, which upheld the EAT’s decisions.  

Under the Equality Act 2010, direct race discrimination occurs where, because of race (including nationality), an employer treats an employee less favourably than it treats or would treat others. Indirect race discrimination occurs where: a) an employer applies a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) to an employee who is of a particular racial group; b) the employer applies that PCP to persons not of the same racial group as the employee; c) the PCP puts persons of the employee’s racial group at a particular disadvantage when compared to other persons; d) the particular employee is also placed at a disadvantage; and e) the employer cannot justify the PCP by showing it to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim…

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