Hatten Wyatt Solicitors v Mamedu: EAT 20 Nov 2007

EAT Race Discrimination – Burden of proof
Contract of Employment – Implied term/variation/construction of term
The issue on the appeal was whether it had been open to the ET to conclude that a firm of solicitors had not discharged the burden of proof on it that the withdrawal of an offer of employment to a locum solicitor, who was a black Nigerian national, was unconnected with his colour or ethnic origin. The EAT dismissed the appeal, concluding that the ET’s conclusion had been open to it. The issue on the cross-appeal was whether the ET had erred in law in dismissing the Claimant’s claim that the withdrawal of the offer (which he had by then accepted) before the employment was due to begin amounted to a breach of contract, bearing in mind that the terms of the Claimant’s employment permitted the firm to terminate his employment at any time without notice or liability. The EAT allowed the appeal, concluding that the provision for termination only applied after the employment had started and did not apply to the withdrawal of the offer before the employment had commenced, but commenting that the Claimant’s damages were likely to be nominal since his employment could have been terminated with immediate effect and without liability on the day when it was due to begin.


Keith J


[2007] UKEAT 0315 – 07 – 2011




England and Wales

Employment, Discrimination

Updated: 14 July 2022; Ref: scu.266650