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Legal Updates

Aiding Discrimination of Agency Workers

03 March 2010 #Employment

The EAT has considered whether an employer ‘aided` discrimination when it engaged an agency worker who discriminated against its employee.     

In the case of May & Baker Ltd t/a Sanofi-Aventis Pharma v Okerago UKETA/0278/09, an agency worker told the company`s employee to "go back to her own country".  As a result of the company`s failure to fully investigate the incident and its subsequent conduct, the employee brought a claim against the company for direct race discrimination.


The EAT held that the company was not liable for the actions of the agency worker as:-

  • There was no evidence that the agency worker was an agent or employee of company, and therefore he did no unlawful act.  As the agency worker was not liable, there was no unlawful act to aid;
  • The subsequent actions of the company took place after the alleged discrimination.  The company could not have ‘aided` an incident after it had taken place;
  • Allowing an environment where particular conduct could take place does not amount to aiding that conduct.       

The allegation of direct discrimination was therefore dismissed.

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