Employment Law and Industrial Relations

Practice Summary

The Employment Team at Doughty Street Chambers is dynamic, flexible and well regarded with expertise in all areas of employment law. A number of our members take on employment cases under public access.


We act almost exclusively for claimants.  Our civil liberties ethos means we will not hesitate to go the ‘extra mile’ for our clients.   We fight for the rights of individual employees, workers and trade unions at all levels – in internal disciplinary proceedings and regulatory proceedings, through the Employment Tribunals, to the Supreme Court and into Europe.  Our team has cross-over expertise in non-employment discrimination and equality law, regulatory and professional discipline law, public law and human rights.Learn more about the work the team specialises in by downloading our brochure here.


Our team members are particularly noted for their skills in:


  • discrimination claims of all kinds, including complex and high-value claims
  • whistleblowing
  • unfair dismissal and redundancy
  • cases involving trade unions and the rights of trade union members


As a team we have a particular expertise in representing professionals from all disciplines including healthcare, social work, academia, law, finance, journalism, politics, sport and the military. Our team members are regularly instructed in high profile employment cases. 


We also have significant experience in providing training in employment and discrimination law including for the TUC, individual trade unions, the Council of Europe, the Bar Standards Board and for professional clients.   We regularly write articles and books on employment and discrimination issues.


Members of the employment team are accredited under the Public Access scheme and can therefore accept direct instructions from the client. For an explanation on the scheme please click here.



Recent high profile or appellate level cases include: 

  • The ongoing EAT case concerning whether the harassment provisions in the Equality Act 2010 extend to asserted/perceived disability: Peninsula Business Services Ltd v Baker (2017)
  • The ongoing EAT case challenging the imposition of a lengthy stay of X and Y's tribunal claims: X & M v Y (2017)
  • The ongoing EAT case concerning divisibility of damages in a multiple causation case and deductibility of private health insurance following a successful claim for disability discrimination: Brown v Colt (2017)
  • The ongoing EAT case of direct race discrimination and victimisation concerning the shifting of the burden of proof in discrimination and particularly victimisation claims: Bowler v Chief Constable of Kent (2017 and ongoing)
  • The groundbreaking claim for direct discrimination on grounds of religion or belief, against a catholic school who had refused to consider an application from a headteacher on the grounds that it would only consider applications from practising Catholics: Raw-Rees v Governing Body of St Padarn’s Primary School (2017).   
  • The Court of Appeal case which established that overtime payments were payable to police officers during their rest periods if required to respond eg to a phone call from an informant: Allard & Ors v Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall (2015)
  • The EAT case challenging the Government’s practice of paying high fees to retired judges who were members of parole boards compared to non-judicial members as constituting race discrimination: Greenland v Secretary of State for Justice (2015)
  • The High Court case considering the approach of Police Medical Appeals Boards to determining permanent disability under the police pension regulations: Sidwell v Police Medical Appeals Board & Ano (2015)
  • The EAT case considering the limits of the scope of the requirement to make a reasonable adjustment prior to dismissing a disabled employee who had acquired a criminal conviction for a reason related to her disability: Howarth v North Lancashire Teaching Primary Care Trust (2014)
  • The EAT case which held that a human resource director’s failure to consult the claimant over her grievance constituted race discrimination and victimisation, even though his intentions were benign: Dr Lyfar-Cisse v Brighton & Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust & Ors (2014)
  • The EAT case applying the band of reasonable responses test to both procedural and substantial unfair dismissal: Usdaw v Burns (2014)
  • The EAT case maintaining the right of an employee to be accompanied by a companion of his or her choice when attending an internal disciplinary hearing: Toal & Hughs v GB Oils Ltd (2013); Roberts v GB Oils Ltd (2013)
  • The Court of Appeal case on the test for remittance in a sex discrimination case brought by a Royal Navy chief petty officer: MoD v Cartner (2011), and the EAT case on the scope of remittance disability discrimination (reasonable adjustment) case: Gardner v Chief Constable of the West Midlands (2013)
  • The Court of Appeal case which removed judicial proceedings immunity, and permitted a headteacher to argue that a local authority had breached the implied contractual term of mutual trust and confidence by placing undue pressure on a witness to produce a statement containing false evidence: Singh v Moorlands Primary School Governing Body / Reading Borough Council (2013)
  • The Court of Appeal challenge to the decision to uprate public sector pension benefits by CPI and not RPI: R (Staff Side of the Police Negotiating Board) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (2013)
  • The tribunal test case that London Underground had discriminated on ground of disability against a single-sided deaf driver: Mukadam v London Underground (2013) 
  • The High Court case concerning the circumstances in which oral evidence must be called in a Police Appeal Tribunal: CC Hampshire v Police Appeals Tribunal (2012).
  • The EAT case considering the approach to adopt when considering an application to amend a discrimination claim:  Charles v Kuehne & Nagel Ltd (2012)
  • The Court of Appeal case concerning the use of the ECHR Article 8 to challenge the procedural limitations of the band of reasonable responses test used in unfair dismissal cases: Turner v East Midlands Trains Ltd  (2012)
  • The Court of Appeal case that held that the government’s decision to change the indexing of public service pensions was unlawful: FDA & Ors v Secretary of State for Work and pensions & Ors (2012)
  • The Court of Appeal case considering the approach of Police Appeals Tribunals to the issue of dishonesty: Salter v Chief Constable of Dorset (2012)
  • The EAT case that held that suspension of a disabled support worker by her care home, amounted to harassment on grounds of her disability: Prospects for People with Learning Difficulties v Harris (2012)
  • The EAT case setting out the approach to adopt when considering an employer’s reason for dismissal: UPS Ltd v Harrison (2012)
  • The EAT case considering an employment tribunal's finding of unfair dismissal: Secretary of State for Justice v Bennett & Cranmer (2012)
  • The EAT case which held that the national minimum wage did not apply to a pub manager who was contractually required to sleep on the premises when she was asleep: Wray v Lees & Co Brewers (2011)
  • The EAT case setting out the approach to applications to join third parties: Beresford v Sovereign House Estates / Humphries (2011)
  • The Supreme Court case concerning the right of legal representation in internal disciplinary proceedings: R (on the Application of G) v X School Governors & Y City Council (2011)
  • The Court of Appeal sex discrimination case using EU law to challenge the use of the opt-out principle to limit access of part-time employees to employer’s pension scheme: Copple v Littlewood Plc (2011)  
  • The EAT case considering the reasonableness of the delay in submitting a claim following publication of a blacklist of construction industry workers: Cullinane v Balfour Beatty Engineering Services Ltd (2011)
  • The High Court case considering the interpretation of a union’s rules in relation to the election of the general secretary: Paul Talbot v General Federation of Trade Unions (2011)
  • The EAT case considering whether a foster carer was a worker, and therefore could claim the right o be accompanied: Bullock v Norfolk County Council (2011)
  • The Court of Appeal case overturning the EAT’s decision to dismiss rather than remit a successful claim for unfair dismissal: Fuller v Brent London Borough Council (2011)
  • The EAT case considering bonus payments and unlawful deductions of wages: Hellewell & McArdle v AXA Services Ltd and Ano (2011)
  • The EAT case that established that inaction could constitute unwanted conduct under the Race Relations Act 1976 in certain circumstances: Conteh v Parking Partners Ltd (2011)
  • The EAT case considering the applicability of the BHS v Burchell test to a disciplinary investigation:  TDG Chemical Ltd v Benton (2010)
  • The EAT case providing that in a redundancy situation consultation had to be meaningful in order to comply with the second step of the statutory dismissal procedure: Bond v Urmet Domus Communication & Security Ltd (2010)
  • The EAT case that held that no automatic unfair dismissal arises where a claimant refused to attend an appeal hearing on the basis that the hearing had been unreasonably delayed: Dogan v Greenwich London Borough Council (2010)
  • The EAT case considering the relationship between disability discrimination and the statutory dismissal procedure: London Underground Ltd v Vuoto (2010)
  • The EAT case that held that the employers refusal to make payments to employees under the goo-performance scheme in response to their failure to meet absence targets was an unlawful deductions of wages: South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Authority v Beever, Martin & Buckley (2010)
  • The widely reported employment tribunal case which found that the BBC had discriminated on grounds of age against TV presenter Miriam O’Reilly: O’Reilly v BBC (2010)
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