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05/12/2019

The Commissioners of the City of London Police v Geldart UKEAT/0032/19/RN

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The question for the EAT in this case was whether the non-payment of a police officer’s London Allowance during her maternity leave amounted to direct sex discrimination.

Mrs Geldart worked as a police officer for the City of London Police. Under Part 6 of the Police Regulations 2003, she was entitled to a London Allowance. The allowance was remuneration established to promote the recruitment of police officers in London. The Police failed to pay Mrs Geldart’s London Allowance for the last portion of her maternity leave, when she was no longer entitled to maternity pay. She won a claim for direct sex discrimination in the ET.

The EAT found in favour of Mrs Geldart. Mr Justice Lavender considered that the London Allowance, unlike other allowances provided for under the Regulations, should be paid during maternity leave the as the Police Regulations did not explicitly state otherwise.

The Court considered s.18 Equality Act 2010, which prohibits specific forms of pregnancy and maternity discrimination, and held the provision was not designed to encompass all scenarios in which a woman could be discriminated on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity. Therefore, s.13 Equality Act 2010, concerning direct discrimination, could be relied upon in situations which fell outside of s.18. It was held that the ET was correct to apply the principle in Webb v EMO Air Cargo (U.K.) Ltd [1994] QB 718. Webb continues to be authority for the proposition that a claimant discriminated on the basis of pregnancy or maternity has been a victim of sex discrimination and does not require a comparator to prove her case. The ET had stated that it was common ground that the allowance was not paid as Mrs Geldart was away from work due to maternity leave. The EAT found that because of this, the ET was correct to conclude that Mrs Geldart’s claim should succeed without reliance upon a comparator, or further consideration of the reason why the allowance was not paid, despite it also being common ground that a man away from work on sick leave would have been treated in the same way.

To view the full judgment, please click here.

Louise Chudleigh was instructed by The Corporation of London.

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