Employment Cases Update

Walker v Wallem Shipmanagement Ltd and another UKEAT/0236/18/LA

Date published: 20/01/2020

Appeal against the ET’s finding that it did not have jurisdiction to determine the Claimant’s claim for sex discrimination. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant applied to the Respondent, in England, to work aboard a foreign registered cargo ship destined for foreign waters, but was told that she would not be employed on a non-UK flagged ship because she was a woman. She brought a claim for direct sex discrimination, but the ET determined that the combined effect of section 81 of the Equality Act 2010 ("EqA 2010") and regulation 4 of the Equality Act (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011 was that Part 5 of the EqA 2010 did not apply to protect the Claimant in these circumstances, and so the ET did not have jurisdiction to determine her claim. The Claimant appealed.

The EAT held that the ET was correct to reject its own jurisdiction to entertain the claim and to determine it on its merits. It was an uncomfortable but inescapable proposition that an offshore employment service provider could discriminate, on UK soil, on the ground of any of the protected characteristics in the EqA 2010, when recruiting personnel to serve on its clients' foreign flagged ships sailing outside UK waters.

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.