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Lack of Legal Advice Almost Defeats Gay Shop Worker’s Claim

PLEASE NOTE: Information in this article is correct at the time of publication, please contact DFA Law for current advice on older articles.

Bringing a complaint before an Employment Tribunal (ET) is no easy matter and an absence of professional advice has sadly defeated many a meritorious claim. In one case which underlined the point, a shop worker who chose to represent himself very nearly had his discrimination claim dismissed without a hearing.

The gay man claimed, amongst other things, that he had been discriminated against on grounds of his sexual orientation. However, that complaint was struck out by an ET on the basis that it had not been formally submitted in writing with sufficient clarity to enable his employer to respond sensibly.

In upholding his challenge to that decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the defects in the self-drafted claim form that he had submitted were capable of being remedied. The document gave sufficient details in support of the claim to enable the employer to fairly understand the case it had to meet. The ET had erred in law in striking out the claim, which was permitted to go forward to a full hearing.

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