Webb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd (No 1): HL 3 Mar 1993

Questions on pregnancy dismissals included unavailability at required time. The correct comparison under the Act of 1975 was between the pregnant woman and: ‘a hypothetical man who would also be unavailable at the critical time. The relevant circumstance for the purposes of the comparison required by section 5(3) to be made is expected unavailability at the material time. The precise reason for the unavailability is not a relevant circumstance, and in particular it is not relevant that the reason is a condition which is capable of affecting only women, or for that matter only men’
The Marleasing principle applies whether the domestic legislation came after or preceded the Directive. Lord Keith of Kinkel said that ‘it is for a United Kingdom court to construe domestic legislation in any field covered by a Community Directive so as to accord with the interpretation of the Directive as laid down by the European Court of Justice, if that can be done without distorting the meaning of the domestic legislation.’

Lord Keith of Kinkel
Gazette 03-Mar-1993, [1993] 1 WLR 49, [1993] ICR 175, [1993] IRLR 27, [1992] UKHL 15
Sex Discrimination Act 1975 5(3) 1(1)(a)
England and Wales
Appeal fromWebb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd CA 20-Dec-1991
The applicant had been taken on to stand in for an employee taking maternity leave. She herself became pregnant, and she was dismissed. Her clam for sex discrimination had been rejected by the industrial tribunal and EAT.
Held: Since a man who . .
CitedMarleasing SA v La Comercial Internacional de Alimentacion SA ECJ 13-Nov-1990
Sympathetic construction of national legislation
LMA OVIEDO sought a declaration that the contracts setting up Commercial International were void (a nullity) since they had been drawn up in order to defraud creditors. Commercial International relied on an EC . .
CitedDekker v Stichting Vormingscentrum Voor Jong Volwassenen ECJ 8-Nov-1990
An employer is in direct contravention of the principle of equal treatment embodied in Articles 2(1) and 3(1) of Council Directive 76/207/EEC of 9 February 1976 on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards . .

Cited by:
Reference fromWebb v EMO Air Cargo ECJ 14-Jul-1994
Community Law protects women from dismissal during pregnancy save in exceptional circumstances. It was discriminatory to dismiss a female not on a fixed term contract for pregnancy. The Court rejected an interpretation of the Directive that would . .
CitedMacDonald v Advocate General for Scotland (Scotland); Pearce v Governing Body of Mayfield School HL 19-Jun-2003
Three appeals raised issues about the way in which sex discrimination laws were to be applied for cases involving sexual orientation.
Held: The court should start by asking what gave rise to the act complained of. In this case it was the . .
CitedGreenalls Management Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise CA 26-Jun-2003
The appellant operated an approved storage facility, holding alcoholic drinks. Drinks were to be exported, and were released on that basis. They were later diverted and sold within the UK market, evading the appropriate duty. The company appealed a . .
CitedPercy v Church of Scotland Board of National Mission HL 15-Dec-2005
The claimant appealed after her claim for sex discrimination had failed. She had been dismissed from her position an associate minister of the church. The court had found that it had no jurisdiction, saying that her appointment was not an . .
See AlsoWebb v EMO Air Cargo (UK) Ltd (No 2) HL 20-Oct-1995
The applicant complained that she was dismissed when her employers learned that she was pregnant.
Held: 1(1) (a) and 5(3) of the 1975 Act were to be interpreted as meaning that where a woman had been engaged for an indefinite period, the fact . .
CitedFeakins and Another v Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Civ 1513) CA 9-Dec-2005
The department complained that the defendants had entered into a transaction with their farm at an undervalue so as to defeat its claim for recovery of sums due. The transaction used the grant of a tenancy by the first chargee.
Held: The . .
CitedAttridge Law (A Firm of Solicitors) v Coleman and Law EAT 20-Dec-2006
The claimant asserted associative disability discrimination. She was the carer for her disabled son.
Held: To succeed the claimant would have to show that associative discrimination was prohibited by the directive and that the 1995 Act could . .
CitedMcFarlane v Relate Avon Ltd EAT 30-Nov-2009
UNFAIR DISMISSAL – Reason for dismissal
Christian counsellor dismissed by Relate for failing to give an unequivocal commitment to counsel same-sex couples.
CitedO’Neill v Governors of St Thomas More RC School and Another EAT 24-May-1996
The claimant had been dismissed as a teacher by the respondent Roman Catholic school after she became pregnant by a priest. She had been found to have been unfairly dismissed, but the tribunal had rejected her claim of discrimination for pregnancy. . .
CitedCass v Amt-Sybex (NI) Ltd NIIT 30-Sep-2009
NIIT The tribunal finds that the claimant did not suffer discrimination on the grounds of sex or her part-time working status and accordingly her claims are dismissed. . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Discrimination, European, Employment

Leading Case

Updated: 11 November 2021; Ref: scu.90352