Employment Cases Update

Partners Group (UK) Ltd and another v Mulumba UKEAT/0237/20/RN

Date published: 08/06/2021

Appeal against the ET’s determination that it had jurisdiction to hear the Claimant’s claim on the grounds of territorial scope. Appeal allowed in part.

The Claimant, a citizen of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was employed by the Respondents on a program entailing placements in the US, Switzerland and the UK. When she was dismissed, she brought a number of claims in the ET including for unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, automatic unfair dismissal and "ordinary" unfair dismissal. The ET considered that this was a complex case concerning an employment relationship that had evolved over the course of the Claimant's employment; in determining whether, during the Claimant's employment in London, she had established a sufficient connection with the UK for the ET to have jurisdiction, it concluded that she had.

The Respondents appealed on the grounds that (1) the ET, by stating that it had "jurisdiction to hear the claim", failed to distinguish between those parts of "the claim" that related to the Claimant's employment in Great Britain and those that arose when she was employed in the US or Switzerland, (2) the ET erred by failing to take into account that the governing law of the Claimant's contract of employment was New York law, (3) the ET ought properly to have held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider any of the Claimant's claims even after the commencement of her placement in London, and (4) even if the ET was entitled to find it had jurisdiction to hear some part of the Claimant's claim arising from the period of her employment in London, it erred by failing to identify clearly when that jurisdiction was established.

The EAT held that the appeal succeeded on the first ground, and so the ET did not have jurisdiction to determine the claims relating to matters pre-dating the Claimant's move to London. Further, the EAT upheld the second and fourth grounds but rejected the third ground. Accordingly, the matters raised by the second and fourth grounds would be remitted to the same ET for further consideration.

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