Employment Appeal Tribunal overturns tribunal’s finding of marriage discrimination

News  |   11 January 2023

Written by
Elliott Flockhart, Trainee Solicitor

In the case of Ellis v Bacon and anor, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) overturned the findings of an employment tribunal, that an employee was discriminated against because of her marital status.

The EAT held that the tribunal failed to establish whether the cause of the less favourable treatment was because the individual was married to the employer’s majority shareholder, or whether the cause was the closeness of their relationship. Essentially, the EAT observed that the tribunal had not directed itself in accordance with Hawkins v Atex Group Ltd and ors (Brief 950) and had failed to ask whether an unmarried woman whose circumstances were otherwise the same as the individual in question, including being in a close relationship with the majority shareholder, would have been treated differently. The issue in question was whether the employee was treated less favourably because she was married, as opposed to whether she was treated less favourable because she was married to a particular person. The EAT held that the tribunal’s basic contention that the employee’s marital status was the cause of the unfavourable treatment, was not, in all the circumstances, sufficient. The EAT therefore allowed the appeal.

If you need assistance or advice on the contents of this article, please contact the Employment Team at Thackray Williams LLP 020 8290 0440.

Related Insights