Waters v Comr of Police for the Metropolis

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Waters v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Court House of Lords
Decided 27 July 2000
Citation(s) [2000] 1 WLR 1607; [2000] UKHL 50; [2000] IRLR 720
Court membership
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 [1997] 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[edit]

Waite LJ dismissed PC Waters’ appeal.

House of Lords[edit]

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.’

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