Employment Cases Update

Chief Constable of Avon and Somerset Constabulary v Eckland UKEAT/0123/20/JOJ

Date published: 20/04/2021

Appeal against the ET’s decision as to the correct identity of the respondent to the Claimant’s disability discrimination claim. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant, a police officer, was alleged to have lied to a Crown Court, and a disciplinary investigation ensued in accordance with a complex and detailed statutory regime involving the Chief Constable, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and the police misconduct tribunal ("the panel"). The panel, appointed by the Chief Constable, found the case proved and decided that the claimant should be dismissed with immediate effect for gross misconduct. The Claimant, asserting that he was disabled by depression and episodic paroxysmal anxiety, brought a disability discrimination claim against the Chief Constable only; and the ET determined, as a preliminary issue, that the Chief Constable alone was the correct respondent to the claim. The Chief Constable appealed on the grounds that (1) the ET erred in deciding that he could be held liable for discriminatory acts of the IOPC's Director General, (2) the ET erred in deciding that he could be held liable for discriminatory actions by the panel, and (3) the ET failed to give him a fair trial and determination of those issues.

The EAT held that ground (1) succeeded, but ground (2) failed; ground (3) also succeeded, since the ET had erred in just adopting one side's case and rejecting the other side's. Accordingly, the Chief Constable was liable for any discrimination committed by the panel but not by the IOPC, and there was no need to remit any of the preliminary issues for further consideration by the ET.

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