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Chief Constable Of Hampshire Constabulary v Haque [2011] EAT

Finding direct discrimination always involves establishing "reason why" treatment occured.

A woman may be placed at a disadvantage because she is a nursing mother on maternity leave in, for example, being called to attend a disciplinary hearing. However, that does not automatically make her treatment direct sex discrimination: a tribunal must establish what is the reason why the disadvantageous treatment (such as the hearing is being progressed) takes place - is it on grounds of her sex, because she is a woman, or a nursing mother? Behaviour may be unreasonable without being discriminatory. 

Mrs Haque was dismissed from Hampshire Police for misconduct - and made no challenge against that disciplinary finding. However, she was dismissed in February 2009 when she was still on maternity leave; having started this in April 2008 it would, with the addition of accrued leave entitlement, meant that she would not return to work until June 2009. The police opted to continue with the disciplinary proceedings despite her request that they be postponed until her return to work, dismissing her request as "offensive and a try-on"; they failed to make provision for her attending as a nursing mother, and insisted on totally inappropriate locations in terms of Mrs Haque's ability to attend.

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