News and Events

Employment Tribunal can hear discrimination complaints by a doctor against the GMC

  • Posted

Can employment tribunals hear discrimination claims against qualification bodies such as the GMC?

Yes, held the Supreme Court in Michalak v General Medical Council. Dr Michalak was found to have been unfairly dismissed by the NHS Trust that had employed her. Prior to that determination, the Trust referred her to the GMC, which began fitness to practice proceedings. In a separate employment tribunal claim, Dr Michalak complained that the GMC had discriminated against her.

Section 120(7) of the Equality Act 2010 precludes employment tribunal claims against qualification bodies where "by virtue of an enactment" their decision is subject to "proceedings in the nature of an appeal".

In finding that the employment tribunal had jurisdiction to hear the claim, the Supreme Court said that in the context of the case judicial review was not "in the nature of an appeal". A complaint of discrimination cannot be answered by studying the reasons the alleged discriminator acted in the way that they did and deciding whether that lay within the range of reasonable responses. Further, judicial review originated as a common law procedure, and was therefore not a remedy provided "by virtue of an enactment".

Thanks to Keira Gore of Outer Temple Chambers for preparing this case summary.