In 2017 the extremely important Supreme Court decision of Essop v Home Office was determined that clarified and to some extent, simplified indirect discrimination law for all UK workers. The issue in the case was it is alleged that the Home Office’s internal staff promotion policy place workers over the age of 35 and workers of non-white racial groupings at a material disadvantage.

Following the Supreme Court decision the case was remitted to the Employment Tribunal. PCS Union, which together with Prospect, brought the discrimination case has reported that that case has after over  seven years has settled whilst hearings were in progress for over £1 million:

Employment Tribunal claims were initiated against the Home Office, claiming indirect discrimination and arguing that the CSA was nothing more than an extra hurdle used to sift out BME and older workers.

The Home Office disputed these claims until the day before the Tribunal hearing, when it supplied a series of internal and confidential reports to Thompsons and the unions, one of which agreed that the CSA unjustifiably treated BME and older workers unfairly.

The Home Office then agreed part way through the Tribunal hearing to settle the claims, without admission of liability, and to pay the claimants compensation totalling more than £1 million.

Kate Lea from Thompsons Solicitors said: “While the settlement represents a fantastic result for each claimant and the union, it….defies belief that the Home Office knew of the internal findings yet decided to only disclose them the day before the tribunal hearing. The Home Office’s failure to cooperate until the very end caused an avoidable and costly legal battle – wasting time and taxpayer’s money.”

This is a fantastic result for PCS which follows the recent £3 million settlement the union obtained against DWP for breach of contract and an excellent example of why every civil servant should join PCS. 

The case is one in which I had some very minor involvement, involved enough so I know just how much work PCS other PCS reps and members put into not only running this case but getting the case off the ground in the first place – congratulations to everyone involved.