An Employment Tribunal (ET) must always give reasons for its decisions, as laid down in Rule 30 of the Employment Tribunal (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2004. Clearly, for justice to be done, it must be apparent to those involved why the successful party won and the unsuccessful party lost. Rule 30 imposes a form of discipline on the ET, keeping it focused on what is relevant and important to the case and ensuring that the reasons for a decision are set out in a way that will easily be understood by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) if the case goes to appeal.
In Agu v Roc UK Ltd., Miss Agu, who worked on a part-time basis as a sales advisor at Roc’s service station in Buckingham, claimed to have been the victim of sex discrimination. She named two male comparators who, she claimed, were allocated more extra hours over and above their core contracted hours than she was. The work rotas showed that this was indeed the case. However, the ET rejected Miss Agu’s claim in one short paragraph. It accepted the explanation given by the manager of the service station, that he allocated the extra hours according to need, and found that ‘no evidence was presented of preferential treatment’ of the two male comparators.
The EAT was in no doubt that the ET’s judgment did not comply with Rule 30(6), which sets out the information that should be included in the written reasons for a judgment. It did not refer at all to the law applicable to the circumstances of the case. Nor did it inform the parties how the relevant findings of fact and the relevant law had been applied in order to determine the issues. Whilst a judgment ‘should not be criticised for brevity alone’, no reasons were given for the ET’s conclusion that there was no difference in treatment between Miss Agu and the male comparators with regard to the allocation of extra working hours. How the ET reached that conclusion from the evidence and why Miss Agu lost were simply not demonstrated by the written judgment. Indeed, the finding that there was no evidence of preferential treatment of the male comparators was perverse.
The EAT allowed the appeal, describing the ET’s judgment as ‘so deficient it cannot stand’. The claim was remitted to a fresh Tribunal.