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28-11-2014

This case demonstrates the risk that new employers potentially inherit as a consequence of TUPE.

Facts: C was employed by Port Vale (Valiant 2001) Football Club. On 1 July 2011 her employment was transferred under TUPE to Azure Support Services, where she was employed until her dismissal on 19 October 2011.

Both before and after the transfer, V was subjected to acts of sexual harassment by an employee of the football club. That employee did not transfer to Azure under Tupe.

The employment tribunal found that while both the football club and Azure were liable, the club could not be liable for any acts of sexual harassment that occurred after the date of the transfer because, from that date, the offender and V were employed by different employers.

On the issue of time limits, the tribunal found the harassment was a ‘continuing act’ up to 1 October 2011. The claim was submitted on 29 December 2011 and was, therefore, in time. V appealed the fact that the football club's liability for the harassment did not transfer to Azure under TUPE (which was important as far as any award to V was concerned as the football club was by then insolvent).

Employment Appeal Tribunal: The Employment Appeal Tribunal allowed V's appeal, liability for the harassment transferred to Azure. However, Azure argued that the limitation period on its liability began from the date of the TUPE transfer and that the claim was, therefore, out of time.

The EAT held that, under the Equality Act 2010, the time limit to bring a claim for sexual harassment starts from the date of the conduct complained of and, in the case of conduct extending over a period of time, from the end of that period.

 

This is intended for general information only and should not be considered as giving advice in relation to any individual case nor be taken as applying to any particular case. No liability is accepted for any such use of the information contained.

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