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Chambers & Partners
10/04/1997

Lasertop Ltd v Webster

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Employment Appeal Tribunal

Company's appeal against finding of sex discrimination where it informed the male complainant who had replied to an advertisement for the post of a sales person/trainee selling memberships of a women's health and fitness club that the position was only available for women. The respondent's application was refused because the job entailed duties in the sauna, sunbed and toilet area of the club which could only be decently performed by a woman and s.7(1)(a)(2)(b)(ii) Sex Discrimination Act 1975 was relied on by the company as a defence of occupational qualification. The industrial tribunal had held that the duties having an occupational qualification would occupy only a small part of the employee's time and could be performed by a member of the female staff.
HELD: At the time of the complaint the appellant did not have sufficient female employees who were capable of carrying out the inappropriate duties. The industrial tribunal had failed to consider the duties giving rise to the genuine occupational qualification defence in s.7(2) and had only taken into account an irrelevant factor, the extent to which the duties formed part of the overall working time in the job. Appeal allowed.

[1997] ICR 828

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