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Sex discrimination: The comparison exercise in direct sex discrimination claims

This report relates to 1 case(s)

Key points

In Shamoon v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary House of Lords 27.2.03, the House of Lords holds:

  • In cases where a complainant alleges direct sex discrimination, the statutory comparison requires that all the circumstances that are relevant to the way the complainant was treated are the same as, or not materially different from, the circumstances of the comparator.
  • The statutory provisions permit a hypothetical comparison in cases where it is not possible to identify an actual comparator, and, in this case, the employment tribunal erred in law in considering that two male police officers who held the same rank as the female complainant were appropriate actual comparators when their circumstances were materially different in that complaints had been made against her but not against the male officers.