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Sex discrimination: Lords approve "but for" test in direct discrimination cases

This report relates to 1 case(s)

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    James v Eastleigh Borough Council [1990] IRLR 288 HL (1 other report)

    • Gender-based criteria are directly discriminatory

      Date:
      1 September 1990

      In James v Eastleigh Borough Council (14 June 1990) EOR33B, the House of Lords holds that the test for determination whether there has been direct discrimination is "would the complainant have received the same treatment from the defendant but for his or her sex?". It is not necessary for complainants to prove in addition that the subjective reason they were treated less favourably was because of their gender.

The House of Lords' decision in James v Eastleigh Borough Council establishes that the intention, motive, reason or purpose behind an allegedly discriminatory act are all irrelevant to whether discrimination has occurred. The crucial question is simply whether the complainant would have received the same treatment but for his or her sex.