Employment Cases Update

Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police v Town UKEAT/0194/19/LA

Date published: 18/01/2021

Appeal against the ET’s decision upholding the Claimant’s claims of pregnancy discrimination. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant worked as a Response Officer on the front line for the Respondent. When she notified the Respondent that she was pregnant, a risk assessment was conducted and the Claimant was placed on restricted duties but continued as a Response Officer. A month later, under a blanket provision applied by the Respondent, she was moved to a sedentary back-office role, which caused her to take a period of absence for mental ill-health before she went on maternity leave. The Claimant brought claims in the ET under sections 18 (pregnancy discrimination) and 19 (indirect discrimination) of the Equality Act 2010, and the ET upheld her claims, identifying the move to the back-office role as the unfavourable treatment, which put her at a disadvantage because it removed her from work that she valued and enjoyed, and because it put her at risk of injury to her mental health. The Respondent appealed on the grounds that the transfer to the back-office role was removing her from danger, and therefore not unfavourable, and that any "particular disadvantage" under section 19 was suffered by pregnant women, and not women in general.

The EAT held that the ET had correctly identified that the Claimant had not complained about being removed from danger, but she had objected to being moved to the particular back-office role, contrary to the risk assessment; further, the EAT found that the Respondent's provision that led to the Claimant's transfer was likely to disproportionately disadvantage women.

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