Tribunal must not substitute its own view for that of the employer

London Ambulance Service NHS Trust v Small: This case is a reminder that the tribunal's role in unfair dismissal cases is not to substitute its own view, but to determine whether the decision to dismiss fell within the band of reasonable responses open to the employer. The Court of Appeal reaffirmed that, in deciding whether an employer's decision to dismiss fell within the band of reasonable responses, the tribunal should consider only those facts reasonably known to the employer when dismissing the employee.

Immigration and race discrimination

Osborne Clarke Services v A Purohit: The decision by a UK law firm to reject a job application on the grounds that the applicant for the job did not have permission to work in the UK has been held by the EAT to constitute indirect race discrimination. The law firm had a policy of rejecting applications from candidates who required a work permit that adversely affected non-EEA nationals and could not be justified. Employers should identify suitable candidates first and then, if necessary, make an application for a work permit.

Clear language required in COT3 to compromise future claims
McLean v TLC Marketing Plc: One of the advantages of COT3 agreements over compromise agreements is the greater certainty that the COT3 provides when it comes to the employee waiving future statutory claims of which the employee and employer have no (and can have no) knowledge at the time the settlement is agreed. However, in this case, the EAT reaffirmed that such a waiver of future claims will only be effective if the waiver is expressed in language that is absolutely clear and leaves no room for doubt as to what the parties are agreeing. Here, the relevant clause in the COT3 did not meet this test and as a result Mrs McLean was entitled to bring a claim in the employment tribunal that her employer's breach of the COT3 amounted to victimisation.

Belief in the importance of the environment and in climate change amounts to a philosophical belief
Nicholson v Grainger plc: Mr Nicholson has brought an employment tribunal claim alleging that he was selected for redundancy because of his strong belief in the importance of the environment. He is arguing that this is a philosophical belief covered by the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 and that his dismissal was therefore discriminatory. At a preliminary hearing, Grainger plc argued unsuccessfully that Mr Nicolson's claim of discrimination should be struck out on the grounds that a belief in the environment is not protected under the Religion or Belief Regulations. It remains to be seen whether Grainger will appeal this decision. In the meantime, this decision shows how widely tribunals are prepared to interpret what amounts to a "philosophical belief". Any detrimental treatment by the employer on the grounds of such beliefs or any treatment that adversely affects such employees could be discriminatory under the Religion or Belief Regulations.

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