European Employment Law Cases

Case Reports

2017/41 New approach to burden of proof in discrimination claims (UK)

Keywords General discrimination
Authors Hannah Price
Author's information

Hannah Price
Hannah Price is a Legal Director at Lewis Silkin LLP.
  • Abstract

      The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has adopted a new approach to the burden of proof in discrimination cases. Up to now, the courts have held that the claimant must, in the first instance, prove sufficient facts from which (in the absence of any other explanation) an inference of discrimination can be drawn. Once the claimant has established these facts, the burden of proof shifts to the respondent to show that he or she did not breach the provisions of the Act. The EAT has now said that courts should consider all of the evidence (both the claimant’s and the respondent’s) when making its finding of facts, in order to determine whether or not a prima facie case of discrimination has been made out. It is then open to the respondent to demonstrate that there was no discrimination. This is an important development in how the burden of proof is dealt with in discrimination cases. It clarifies that it is not only the claimant’s evidence which will be scrutinised in determining whether the burden of proof has shifted, but also the respondent’s evidence (or lack thereof).

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