Northumbria Police has failed in its attempt to strike out a disability discrimination claim against a former officer with an injury award who Northumbria wanted to continue a review under Regulation 37 despite the former officer being sectioned in a mental health institution.
In perhaps the first judgement in employment law concerning the Police Injury Benefit Regulations, Employment Judge A M Buchanan (sitting alone) has ruled that the Regulations are an occupational pension in relation to the Equality Act 2010 (EqA). Northumbria Police tried to persuade the court to dismiss the claim without a full hearing of all of the evidence on the basis the tribunal had no jurisdiction.
The immediate consequence is that Section 61 EqA is a gateway that allows discriminatory action to challenged in an Employment Tribunal, when it occurs in the administration of injury awards.
Judge Buchannen said;
I consider there is every reason why a nondiscrimination rule should apply to the Scheme. It is a scheme which clearly provides benefits in the nature of a pension
And he continued that the only forum to seek redress for such matters will be an Employment Tribunal;
I conclude that the matters which are sought to be litigated in these proceedings are not matters which fall within the jurisdiction of the Administrative Court of the High Court or for that matter the Crown Court. The claimant does not seek to challenge the process per se but seeks to have a Tribunal adjudicate upon whether or not in doing what he has done the respondent has breached the provisions of the 2010 Act in the way he has carried out his duties.
The claim can now proceed to full trial. If Northumbria appeal the preliminary judgement then it will be heard before an Employment Appeals Tribunal and become a stated case. The full judgement can be read below:
Employment Tribunal decision.