20 September 2013 #Employment
In an age discrimination case (Osaba v Herfordshire Police), whilst conducting a staff reorganisation, the employer created a points-based matrix to determine which employees would be selected for redundancy. It was claimed that the employer had deliberately manipulated the matrix to ensure that he, by reason of his age, would be dismissed.
The tribunal found that the employer’s handling of this matter was "at its best inconsistent, shambolic in places and lacking in competence". However, the officer`s actions (although poorly executed) were not discriminatory and the tribunal accepted her explanations as an honest attempt to be fair.
The claimant appealed on the basis that the tribunal had failed to examine what explanations there were for the incompetence of the officer in question, and that as a result the employer had failed to discharge the reverse burden of proof.
The appeal failed. The EAT said it would be wrong for a respondent to have to give a "yet further possible dissembling explanation".There simply may be cases where there is nothing more to say other than "I got it wrong and I take responsibility for that".