Employment Law Claims Overseas Worker

Employment Law Claims Overseas Worker



In the​ case Saggar v Ministry of​ Defence [2005] ,​ it​ was held that an​ overseas based employee of​ a​ British business,​ who was a​ UK resident when recruited or​ at​ any time during the​ course of​ the​ employee's employment,​ is​ entitled to​ bring a​ discrimination claim in​ the​ UK . the​ claim can be brought even if​ the​ employee did no further work in​ Britain after the​ move overseas.

After 16 years at​ a​ Ministry of​ Defence base in​ Britain ,​ Lieutenant Colonel Surinder Nath Saggar was permanently stationed in​ Cyprus from 1998 and was still there when he made a​ claim for race discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal decided that Lieutenant Saggar worked wholly outside Britain and could not file a​ race discrimination claim in​ Britain . He appealed against this decision to​ the​ Employment Appeals Tribunal ("EAT").

The EAT dismissed the​ appeal and held that:-

In order for Lieutenant Saggar's claim to​ succeed,​ the​ EAT would have to​ look at​ the​ whole of​ his employment from 1982 onwards,​ and that would be "absurd";

The EAT was bound by the​ decision of​ the​ Court of​ Appeal in​ the​ case of​ Carver v Saudi Arabian Airlines [1999] where for the​ purposes of​ establishing whether or​ not a​ tribunal has jurisdiction to​ hear a​ claim,​ it​ is​ necessary to​ consider whether,​ at​ the​ time of​ the​ alleged discrimination,​ the​ claimant was wholly or​ mainly working in​ Great Britain;
Accordingly,​ at​ the​ time of​ the​ alleged discrimination,​ Lieutenant Saggar worked wholly in​ Cyprus .
The case went to​ the​ Court of​ Appeal and it​ was decided that: -

The relevant period for determining whether a​ claimant worked wholly or​ mainly outside Great Britain is​ the​ whole period of​ employment;
This approach was supported by the​ wording in​ s 8(1) of​ the​ Race Relations Act 1976; and
This decision applied equally to​ all employees even though a​ person serving in​ the​ Armed Forces is​ not an​ employee as​ there is​ no contract of​ service.
The matter was remitted to​ a​ different tribunal to​ determine the​ issue of​ jurisdiction in​ accordance with the​ Court of​ Appeal's judgment.

Comment: This is​ a​ significant decision in​ favour of​ employees. This means that in​ many cases where employees are posted abroad they are entitled to​ bring employment claims in​ the​ UK . in​ practice,​ as​ well as​ complying with the​ rules of​ the​ country where employees are working,​ it​ would be sensible for employers to​ apply English employment law standards as​ well.

Please contact us for more information: enquiries@rtcoopers.com

© RT COOPERS,​ 2005. This Briefing Note does not provide a​ comprehensive or​ complete statement of​ the​ law relating to​ the​ issues discussed nor does it​ constitute legal advice. it​ is​ intended only to​ highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in​ relation to​ particular circumstances.




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