Appeal Court upholds EAT’s burden of proof decision

The court of Appeal has upheld an Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling that reversal of burden of proof should not apply to victimisation claimants under the Race Relations Act (RRA).

Paul Gilroy QC of Old Square Chambers, who acted on behalf of Cheshire County Council in Oyarce v Cheshire County Council (2007), said: “The Court of Appeal has definitively confirmed that there is a two-tier approach to the enforcement of claims made under the RRA legislation.”

It had been assumed that the reversal of burden of proof principle applied to both discrimination and victimisation claims in all antidiscrimination legislation.

“The ramifications of this decision are potentially enormous,” said Gilroy. “Having been touched upon on several occasions by the Employment Appeal Tribunal, this is the first decision at Court of Appeal level on this point.”

Thompsons partner Jo Seery instructed Heather Williams QC of Doughty Street Chambers to act on behalf of the claimant.