HPC Law | Ahir v British Airways plc 2017
Ahir v British Airways plc 2017
The Claimant employee, Mr Ahir, was employed on a fixed-term by the Respondent employer.
An anonymous letter was sent to the Respondent employer which indicated discrepancies within the Claimant employee’s CV, and he was duly dismissed. He claimed that the dismissal amounted to victimisation contrary to:
- s 27 Equality Act 2010, in respect of previous complaints against the Respondent including racial harassment, and
- Regulation 6(1) Fixed-Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002, on the basis that the employer had previously rejected the Claimant’s application for a permanent role
The Claimant’s case was that the ‘anonymous’ tip-off was in fact the Respondent themselves, done in order to trigger an investigation to warrant a dismissal following it being made aware of issues involving the Claimant. However, the Claimant was unable to prove this and failed in his evidence. The case was duly struck out by the Employment Tribunal, while the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the decision. The case was duly taken to the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, finding no reasonable basis of an Employment Tribunal accepting the Claimant’s allegations, let alone his failure to evidence. The case could not be allowed to proceed on the basis of mere conjecture.
The case highlights the importance of a full case preparation which must have, at the heart of it, clear evidence in support of allegations. It should remind employers that, while no doubt claims do happen, that a disgruntled employee may be acting on an assertion rather than fact, and so real analysis of the issues should be considered before looking to settle the matter on a ‘best commercial basis’.
While there is never any guarantee as to how the tribunals or courts will find a case, it should be born in mind that they will consider all the facts and quite often, a Claimant’s case is brought without any real merit, and so a robust response in defending the matter should be at the forefront of an employer’s mind.
If you have any questions and would like to receive some support in any claims of your own, please contact a member of the HPC team who are on hand to guide you through any queries you may have:
T: 0844 800 5932
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