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Police officer wins appeal claiming victimisation after job application rejected

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Warburton v Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police Mr Warburton applied to work with Northamptonshire police and in his application referred to an ongoing claim he had against another constabulary alleging discrimination. It was accepted that his other claim amounted to a protected act. He also mentioned various other matters, such as an incident of inappropriate behaviour at a social event and an allegation of racial abuse of a colleague, which he said was untrue.

In answer to specific questions about criminal offences, he disclosed road traffic offences between 1992 and 2004, and a charge of criminal damage in August 2008. He said that this prosecution had been wrongly brought due to his unlawful arrest and that it was withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service when it reached trial in the Magistrates Court.

Northamptonshire police rejected Mr Warburton’s application citing problems with his vetting information. He alleged that the rejection was because of his protected act and issued a further claim of victimisation against Northamptonshire police.

The Employment Tribunal agreed that Mr Warburton had undertaken a protected act but the judge found that he had suffered no detriment as a result. Mr Warburton appealed. The EAT decided that the tribunal had not asked itself the correct question, that of “is the treatment of such a kind that a reasonable worker would or might take the view that in all the circumstances it was to his detriment?” [Shamoon v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary] nor of causation: did the protected act have a significant influence on the outcome.

The victimisation claim was therefore remitted for rehearing.

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