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    <span class=August, 2015" />

    The Court of Appeal has dismissed the challenge brought by Unison against the introduction of fees in the employment tribunals and the EAT.

    Unison unsuccessfully argued that fees prevented claimants from having access to justice, that the regime was indirectly discriminatory and that the Lord Chancellor had failed to satisfy the public sector equality duty. In particular:

    •Unison’s appeal failed due to lack of evidence as to the impact of fees on individual claimants. Although the Court of Appeal was struck by the dramatic decline in the volume of claims being brought in the tribunal, it agreed with the High Court that the figures on their own were insufficient to establish that claimants were unable to pay the fees and therefore were unable to have effective access to justice find out this here.
    •The Court of Appeal concluded that it was objectively justifiable to have a two-tier fees system. Although a larger number of women then men may be obliged to pay the higher rate fees which apply to discrimination claims, this reflected the greater demand such claims placed on tribunal resources.

    Unison has sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, a formal review on the impact of tribunal fees by the Ministry of Justice is underway with completion of the review expected later in the year.

    Acas has published three new guides on equality:-

    •Equality and Discrimination: Understand the basics
    •Prevent Discrimination: Support equality
    •Discrimination: What to do if it happens

    The guides set out best practice for businesses.

    click here for your copies!

    Does the principle of “Equal treatment” under the Temporary Agency Workers Directive (“the Directive”) require that an agency worker in a temporary job be given a right to apply for that job, and/or get preference ahead of an employer’s permanent employees?

    No, held the EAT in Coles v Ministry of Defence.

    The Claimant was an agency worker for the MoD. After redeploying redundant permanent employees, the MoD filled the Claimant’s role, without offering him an interview. The Claimant had been informed of the vacancy, as required by the Agency Workers Regulations 2010. The Claimant stated the failure to allow him to apply for the post, and/or to give him preference ahead of permanent employees breached his rights under the Directive.

    The EAT held that for agency workers, “the principle of equal treatment is confined to working time and pay”.

    The EAT refused to make a reference to the ECJ on whether the Directive required employers to provide opportunities for agency workers to find alternative employment beyond giving them information on vacancies.

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