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Man wins victimisation claim over bad employment reference

Posted: 8th April 2014   In: Business Employment, Individual Employment

A man who said his former employers gave him a bad reference because he had brought a discrimination case against them has won his victimisation claim.

The man worked for a car sales and repair company but was dismissed because he was over 65 years old. He began proceedings for unfair dismissal and age discrimination. He then went to an employment agency to find a new job.

A director at the car company gave him a bad reference. The man believed this was because of the age discrimination claim. He made a second claim saying that this was victimisation under the Equality Act 2010.

The Employment Tribunal ruled that he had been a victim of age discrimination and awarded him £25,000 compensation.

However, it ruled that he wasn’t protected from post-employment victimisation under the Equality Act 2010 so his claim relating to the reference had to fail.

He took the case to the Court of Appeal which has now ruled in his favour. The court held that it was clear that the Equality Act had been intended to prohibit post-termination victimisation. The fact that it didn’t was merely a drafting error.

 The man’s appeal was therefore allowed and his claim will now be returned to the Employment Tribunal for an assessment of compensation.

The man’s claim was supported by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Commission legal director, Wendy Hewitt, said: “We supported this case in order to clarify an important principle of law, namely that the Equality Act 2010 should be read as prohibiting victimisation which happens after someone has left their job and is then treated unfavourably because they have made allegations of discrimination.

“The fact that this claim has been successful means that it is clear that this protection also applies to former relationships in education, services, public functions and associations."

Please contact John Carter for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.