Police misconduct panels can face discrimination claims, says Supreme Court

Published: 25 Oct 2017

Following today's Supreme Court ruling that police officers are now able to bring discrimination claims relating to their dismissal, Equality and Human Rights Commission Chief Executive Rebecca Hilsenrath said:

"It is only right that police officers receive the same protection from discrimination in the workplace as employees do, and importantly, are able to enforce those rights in court. We therefore welcome the confirmation by the Supreme Court that police officers can bring claims for discriminatory dismissal.

"This case goes to highlight the importance of EU law in protecting fundamental rights. This is why we are pressing for amendments to the Withdrawal Bill to protect our rights under the Brexit process."

Notes to editors

Police officers were already able to bring claims against their chief officer for discrimination that does not amount to dismissal. However, police officers are dismissed by a police misconduct panel rather than the chief officer.

Courts had previously decided panels were immune from being sued due to them being judicial bodies. The judgment was based on EU law, which protects employees from discrimination by their employers.

The Supreme Court found that the Equality Act 2010 had to be interpreted to give effect to this protection and police officers must be allowed to bring claims against the chief officer for dismissals by the panel.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission provided expert legal opinion in the case.

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