Employment Cases Update

Gould v St John’s Downshire Hill UKEAT/0002/20/BA

Date published: 11/06/2020

Appeal against the ET’s rejection of the Claimant’s claims of direct marriage discrimination and unfair dismissal. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, a vicar, was dismissed by the Respondent on the grounds that there had been a loss of trust and confidence in him. He brought proceedings in the ET alleging that his dismissal was an act of direct marriage discrimination, following his separation from his wife, and he also alleged that his dismissal was unfair in that it was for a discriminatory reason and was procedurally unfair. The ET dismissed the Claimant's claims, saying that, if it had upheld them, compensation would have been reduced by 100% on grounds of contributory fault and on the basis that he would have been dismissed in any event. The Claimant appealed on grounds including that (1) the ET had applied the wrong test in deciding the reason for the dismissal, and (2) the ET's findings amounted, in law, to a finding of direct marriage discrimination.

The EAT held that none of the Claimant's grounds of appeal were made out; in particular, (1) the ET's reasons made it clear that it was fully aware of the well-established point that the protected characteristic need not be the sole influence, and (2) while the ET stated that the effect of the Claimant's marital difficulties impacted significantly on trust and confidence, in that the failing marriage was the background to many of the trust and confidence issues, it made clear that the Respondent's reasons for dismissal (which was the only act of discrimination complained of) were not even in part because of the Claimant's marriage.

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