Victimisation claims — has employment protection gone too far?

In the recent UK case of Woodhouse v West North West Home Leeds, the Employment Tribunal’s original judgment was overturned by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, producing an interesting outcome and one which some employers may find unpalatable and a step too far…

Mr Woodhouse, the Appellant in the case, lodged 10 internal grievances regarding race discrimination and seven employment tribunal claims against his employer over a period of four years. Almost all of his claims were found to be empty allegations without any proper evidential basis or grounds for his suspicion. The employer eventually dismissed Mr Woodhouse, on the grounds of a breakdown in trust and confidence and Mr Woodhouse (perhaps unsurprisingly) brought an employment tribunal claim alleging unfair dismissal and victimisation. In particular, he claimed that he had been victimised as a result of raising complaints of racial discrimination.

The UK Employment Tribunal (ET) dismissed Mr Woodhouse’s claim of victimisation on the basis that his employer would have treated a comparable employee who demonstrated a lack of faith by bringing numerous meritless grievances and claims but without any racial connotation, in exactly the same way. However, the employer failed in their procedure by omitting to give Mr Woodhouse a warning or an opportunity to change his conduct…

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