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Disability Discrimination

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Is the Chief Constable of Police liable for discrimination committed by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)?

No, held the EAT in Chief Constable of Avon & Somerset Constabulary v Eckland.

This appeal raised three issues, one of which was determining the correct identity of the Respondent in a disability discrimination claim. A claim was brought by a police officer who was dismissed for gross misconduct following an allegation of perjury. At first instance the correct Respondent was identified as the Chief Constable who was held to be liable for any discrimination by the IOPC. Both parties to the appeal supported the contention that the Chief Constable could not be held liable for the discriminatory acts of the IOPC's Director General. The judge had erred in law.

Interestingly the EAT determined that where there is a related complaint against the IPOC alongside a claim against the Chief Constable, the claim can be heard in the tribunal in the same proceedings rather than the county court provided that that claim is founded on secondary liability under one or more of sections 109-112 Equality Act 2010. The EAT stopped short of deciding that a discrimination claim by a police officer against the IOPC arising from the statutory disciplinary process can be brought in the employment tribunal.

The case was remitted.

Thanks to Karen Jackson of didlaw for preparing this case summary.