0370 270 6000

already registered?

Please sign in with your existing account details.

need to register?

Register to access exclusive content, sign up to receive our updates and personalise your experience on brownejacobson.com.

Privacy statement - Terms and conditions

Supreme Court finds illegality does not stop discrimination claim

1 August 2014

Mary Hounga entered the UK dishonestly on a visitor’s visa, with no right to work in this country. She was subjected to violence by her employer and subsequently brought a claim of race discrimination. At the Court of Appeal, it was found that the illegality of the contract of employment formed a material part of her complaint. To uphold it would condone the illegality, which was against public policy.

The Court of Appeal judgment was overturned by the Supreme Court which decided that the illegality did not defeat the claim and that the UK’s obligation to protect victims of human trafficking meant that it should proceed.

This decision will be welcomed by many, as a contrary outcome would have encouraged disreputable employers to enter into illegal contracts in the belief that they can discriminate with impunity.

related opinions

Employment tribunal changes ahead

There is currently a backlog of employment tribunals – with the number of cases being dealt with rising by 26% since March, and expected to continue to rise with the end of the current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme next month.

View blog

Is it reasonable to dismiss an employee without any prior procedure being followed as a result of a breakdown in relations?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the Employment Tribunal’s (ET) finding that a dismissal may be fair despite no prior procedure being followed.

View blog

Furloughed employees entitled to full pay for redundancy purposes

The government has brought in new legislation to ensure that any employees who have been furloughed will have their statutory redundancy pay calculated based on their full-time wages as opposed their furloughed pay in the event that they are made redundant.

View blog

Return to work – all change or more of the same?

The Government has announced that its workplace guidance will change with effect from 1 August and its “work from home” message will be removed.

View blog

mailing list sign up



Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up