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Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v. N Weeks


Employment Appeal Tribunal

An employment judge had been correct to find that a civilian employee of the police was entitled to bring a claim against the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in respect of acts, said to constitute sex discrimination, which had been carried out by her line manager, who was an officer of the City of London Police.

The appellant police commissioner appealed against a decision of an employment judge that the respondent (W) had been entitled to bring a claim against him in respect of acts, said to constitute sex discrimination, which had been carried out by her line manager (T), who was an officer of the City of London Police.

W had been employed as a senior crime intelligence researcher. Asked to determine the issue of vicarious liability, the employment judge stated that the relevant issue was whether T had the express or implied consent of the Chief Officer of the Metropolitan Police Service to make the decisions that he had in respect of her employment. She went on to state that T had been responsible for assessing W's performance, determining the hours that she worked, dealing with her application for flexible working and determining her level of responsibility and her pay. Those, she pointed out, were important matters in an employment relationship and could only be determined by a person's employer or by someone whom the employer had authorised to act on his behalf. She also found that the commissioner was aware that T was making decisions on the above matters on his behalf: for example, the commissioner's human resources department had received a relevant instruction in respect of W's shift allowance. The employment judge concluded that when he made decisions about W's employment as her line manager, T had acted "with the consent and authority of her employer, and as its agent"; accordingly, W was entitled to make a claim against the commissioner in respect of T's acts.

HELD: The employment judge had directed herself correctly on the law and had properly applied the law. The reality was that T was W's line manager and that he made decisions affecting her employment; which were carried out by staff and officers of the commissioner. In any real sense, therefore, the employment judge's finding that there was express or implied consent by the commissioner for T to carry out those functions for him was tenable. All of the issues that W had raised in the instant proceedings were employment matters, and they were, insofar as they had been dealt with by T, the responsibility of the commissioner (see paras 20, 25, 27 of judgment).

Appeal dismissed.

[2012] Eq LR 209

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