This case concerned age discrimination and victimisation of an employee, Ms Delambre, at the French Lycee in London.
Mrs Delambre worked at the Lycee as a meal time attendant. She applied for a promotion but her application was turned down, she claimed, on the grounds of her age. When Ms Delambre raised a grievance about this, the Headmaster of the school raised concerns about her conduct.
Her claims for age discrimination and victimisation under the Employment Equality Age Regulations 2006 (now repealed) against the Lycee were upheld by the ET and she was awarded £48,709.70. The Tribunal also made three recommendations based on the wilful ignorance of The Lycee about UK employment law and because the Tribunal believed the organisation needed a change of culture in order to address the causes of the discrimination it held Ms Delambre had suffered.
The three recommendations were:
- circulation of the tribunal’s full merits hearing and remedy decisions to each member of the Lycee’s governing board and senior management team, so that they were read and digested by them by 10 March 2010;
- the Lycee was to seek the services of a qualified HR professional to review its disciplinary and grievance, equality and recruitment policies to make sure they complied with UK law. The HR professional was to be given the Tribunal’s decisions and complete the task by the end of June 2010; and
- the Lycee was to engage in a programme of formal equality and diversity training, specifically addressing recruitment and selection procedures. This was to be undertaken in the six months from September 2010 starting with the board of governors and highest management levels and ‘cascading down’ through the entire organisation.
Whilst the amount of compensation was not disputed, the Lycee appealed all three recommendations made by the ET and wanted them to be redrafted.
They argued that:
- the first recommendation was too wide and made reference to a board of governors that the school did not have;
- the second recommendation was too wide and extended beyond the Tribunal’s powers; and,
- the third recommendation was not specific enough to define the action required (by using vague words like ‘cascade’) and that the requirement to provide diversity training was too onerous.
The EAT decided that the criticisms by the Lycee of the first recommendation had no merit. The EAT stated throughout the hearing that the translation of the French body known as the Commission Paritaire was the Board of Governors. Not only that, but the minutes of this Commission’s meeting where the discrimination took place, were before the Tribunal, so the recommendation covered both the body and those attending the meeting. The EAT emphasised that a Judgment of an Employment Tribunal who make findings of discrimination against an employing body should be made known to those who have made the decision that was held to be discriminatory.
The EAT decided that the Lycee’s criticisms of the second recommendation were unfounded and the recruitment of a HR professional was not outside the remit of the Tribunal. The EAT stated that it had been completely inappropriate for the Headmaster of the school to raise matters of misconduct at the grievance meeting. The EAT held that a HR professional would be able to give advice about the correct way to deal with matters of misconduct, as well as address the Tribunal's findings about the lack of understanding of equality in the context of grievances and recruitment.
The EAT commented that the fact that Ms Delambre remained employed at the Lycee was important. It was therefore crucial to make sure that policies were put in place to enable her to make applications for promotion and raise grievances, knowing they would be treated in the correct way and that any allegations of misconduct on her part would be dealt with properly.
The EAT dismissed the Lycee’s criticisms of the third recommendation completely, stating that all those who work in large organisations are familiar with equality and diversity training. The EAT was clear that the training was not onerous, that it did not take a long time and that it needs to begin at the top of the school and work down.
The EAT refused to redraft the recommendations on the basis that they saw nothing wrong with what the ET had requested be done by the Lycee, based on the evidence it had heard. The appeal was dismissed.
Lycee Francais Charles de Gaulle -v- Delambre, IDK EAT/0563/10/RN