Waters v Comr of Police for the Metropolis
|Waters v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis|
|Court||House of Lords|
|Decided||27 July 2000|
|Citation(s)|| 1 WLR 1607;  UKHL 50;  IRLR 720|
|Judge(s) sitting||Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Jauncey of Tullichettle, Lord Clyde, Lord Hutton and Lord Millett|
Waters v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis  ICR 1073 is a UK labour law case concerning victimisation for alleging rape, and whether the employee could claim this amounted to sex discrimination. It now falls under the Equality Act 2010 section 27.
PC Waters said she was raped outside work by a colleague. She complained about it but was then subject to nasty treatment by colleagues and superiors.
Employment Tribunal held that the rape was not actionable discrimination within the SDA, and therefore the complaint was not a ‘protected act’ within SDA 1975 section 4. The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed.
Court of Appeal
Waite LJ dismissed PC Waters’ appeal.
|“||The interpretation proposed by Mr Allen would involve an imprecision of language leaving employers in a state of uncertainty as to how they should respond to a particular complaint, and would place the machinery of the Acts at serious risk of abuse. It is better, and safer, to give the words of the subsection their clear and literal meaning...
The facts alleged by the complaint in this case were incapable in law of amounting to an act of discrimination by the Commissioner because they were not done by him, and they cannot (because the alleged perpetrator was not acting in the course of his employment) be treated as done by him for the purposes of s 4(1).
House of Lords
The House of Lords did not hear an appeal on the SDA 1975 definition of victimisation, but allowed an appeal in respect of negligence over the harassment, unfair treatment and victimisation after the rape complaint.
Lord Hutton stated that if it were shown that psychiatric harm resulted from complaining about rape, ‘it is in the public interest that it should be brought to light so that steps can be taken to seek to ensure that it does not continue, because if officers… are treated as the plaintiff alleges, citizens will be discouraged from joining the police, or from continuing to serve in the police after they have joined, with consequent harm to the interests of the community.’