Winckworth Sherwood

UK 200 2013 position: 94

Sexual harassment of an immigrant without a work permit

In Wijesundera v Heathrow 3PL Logistics Ltd (H3PL), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether W, because she was working illegally, was prevented from bringing a sexual discrimination and harassment claim against her employer.

By law, an employee working under an illegal contract may not be able to rely on certain contractual and statutory employment rights (e.g. unfair dismissal). She may, however, still be able to bring a discrimination claim if it is not so inextricably linked with the illegality that the tribunal would be appearing to condone the illegal conduct if it awarded compensation. The tribunal must consider the circumstances surrounding the claim and illegal conduct, its nature and seriousness, the extent of the employee’s involvement in the illegality and the character of the claim…

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