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25 February 2011

In a recent case against British Airways, the Court of Appeal has reminded us that the amount of work an employee need do in Great Britain before being able to bring an employment tribunal claim here, can be very small.

The case involved Hong Kong based cabin crew who flew to the UK 28 times each year. In London they completed a 45 minute de-brief before resting for about 58 hours in hotel accommodation and returning to Hong Kong.

The court found that this was sufficient to be employed “partly in Great Britain” for the purposes of the legislation, meaning the employees could bring race and age discrimination claims in the employment tribunals.

The case was decided under the old law, which has been replaced by the Equality Act 2010 which is unhelpfully silent on its territorial scope. For the time being employers who regularly send employees to do short periods of work in Great Britain should be alive to the possibly of domestic employment law applying to the arrangement.

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