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Police can bring discrimination claims if they are dismissed by a police misconduct panel

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Can a police officer bring a claim against a police misconduct panel for discriminating against her?

Yes, held the Supreme Court in P v Metropolitan Police.

The Claimant, a serving Police Officer, suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of an assault suffered at work. She was involved in an incident which led to her arrest and dismissal, which she contended arose in consequence of her PTSD.

She claimed that, in dismissing her, the police misconduct panel discriminated against her by treating her unfavourably for something arising in consequence of her disability, and failing to make reasonable adjustments.

The Supreme Court allowed the appeal, overturning the decisions of the employment tribunal, EAT and Court of Appeal, holding that the Equal Treatment Framework Directive required s.42(1) Equality Act 2010 to be interpreted as applying to the exercise of disciplinary functions by misconduct panels in relation to police constables.

The Supreme Court ruled that the reasoning of the Court of Appeal in Heath v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis was wrong insofar as it suggested that the Directive could be qualified by fundamental norms of domestic law, such as judicial immunity. The right not to be discriminated against is a fundamental right in EU law and the UK is not entitled to deny police officers an effective and equivalent remedy.

Thanks to Rad Kohanzad of Serjeants’ Inn Chambers for preparing this case summary.