Qureshi v Victoria University of Manchester: EAT 21 Jun 1996

The Industrial Tribunal only has jurisdiction to consider and rule upon the act or acts of which complaint is made to it. The questions on a complaint of race discrimination are: (a) Did the act complained of actually occur? (b) If the act complained of occurred in time, was there a difference in race involving the applicant? (c) If a difference in race was involved, was the applicant treated less favourably than the alleged discriminator treated or would treat other persons of a different racial group in the same, or not materially different, relevant circumstances? (d) If there was difference in treatment involving persons of a different race, was that treatment ‘on racial grounds’? Were racial grounds an effective cause of the difference in treatment? What explanation of the less favourable treatment is given by the respondent?

Mummery J said: ‘In the present case, it was necessary for the Tribunal to examine all the allegations made by Dr Qureshi of other incidents relied upon by him as evidentiary facts of race discrimination in the matters complained of. There is a tendency, however, where many evidentiary incidents or items are introduced, to be carried away by them and to treat each of the allegations, incidents or items as if they were themselves the subject of a complaint. In the present case it was necessary for the Tribunal to find the primary facts about those allegations. It was not, however, necessary for the Tribunal to ask itself, in relation to each such incident or item, whether it was itself explicable on ‘racial grounds’ or on other grounds. That is a misapprehension about the nature and purpose of evidentiary facts. The function of the Tribunal is to find the primary facts from which they will be asked to draw inferences and then for the Tribunal to look at the totality of those facts (including the respondent’s explanations) in order to see whether it is legitimate to infer that the acts or decisions complained of in the originating applications were on ‘racial grounds’. The fragmented approach by the Tribunal in this case would inevitably have the effect of diminishing any eloquence that the cumulative effect of the primary facts might have on the issue of racial grounds. The process of inference is itself a matter of applying common sense and judgment to the facts, and assessing the probabilities on the issue whether racial grounds were an effective cause of the acts complained of or were not. The assessment of the parties and their witnesses when they give evidence also form an important part of the process of inference. The Tribunal may find the force of the primary facts is sufficient to justify an inference of racial grounds. It may find that any inference that it might have made is negated by a satisfactory explanation from the respondent of non-racial grounds of action or decision.’


Mummery J


[2001] ICR 863, [1996] UKEAT 484 – 95 – 2305, EAT/484/95




CitedKing v Great Britain China Centre CA 1991
The court considered the nature of evidence which will be available to tribunals considering a race discrimination claim.
Held: A complainant must prove his or her case on the balance of probabilities, but it is unusual to find direct evidence . .
CitedChapman and Another v Simon CA 1994
The Industrial Tribunal has no jurisdiction to consider and rule upon other acts of racial discrimination not included in the complaints in the Originating Application.
Racial discrimination may be established as a matter of direct primary . .

Cited by:

ApprovedDr Anya v University of Oxford and Another CA 22-Mar-2001
Discrimination – History of interactions relevant
When a tribunal considered whether the motive for an act was discriminatory, it should look not just at the act, but should make allowance for earlier acts which might throw more light on the act in question. The Tribunal should assess the totality . .
CitedThe Law Society v Kamlesh Bahl EAT 7-Jul-2003
EAT Sex Discrimination – Direct
The complainant had been suspended from her position as Vice President of the Law Society. The Society and its officers appealed findings of sex and race discrimination . .
CitedLaw Society v Bahl CA 30-Jul-2004
The claimant had succeeded before the employment tribunal in her claim of race discrimination by the respondent and senior officers. She now appealed the reversal of that judgment. The claimant asked the tribunal to draw inferences of discrimination . .
CitedDriskel v Peninsula Business Services Ltd Michael Huss Anthony Sutcliffe, Peter Done EAT 17-Dec-1999
EAT The claimant said that she had been subjected to crass sexual banter by her senior manager. She refused to take up a post unless he was moved, and when he declined to so, she was dismissed.
The court . .
CitedLisboa v Realpubs Ltd and Others EAT 11-Jan-2011
Whether Respondent’s policy of encouraging a wider clientele at a formerly gay pub involved less favourable treatment of gay customers causing the Claimant to resign in . .
CitedCumbria Probation Board v Collingwood EAT 28-May-2008
Disability / Disability related discrimination / Reasonable adjustments
>2002 Act and pre-action requirements
The date of disability is . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Discrimination, Employment

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.183405