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Sex discrimination: Mobility clause indirectly discriminatory against women

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    Meade-Hill and National Union of Civil and Public Servants v British Council [1995] IRLR 478 CA (1 other report)

    • Mobility clause challenged

      1 September 1995

      In Meade-Hill and another v British Council (7 April 1995), the Court of Appeal holds that a contractual mobility clause was capable of challenge on grounds that it was indirectly sex discriminatory, notwithstanding that the term had not yet been invoked, and that it was a term with an adverse impact upon women because a higher proportion of women than men are secondary earners who would find it impossible to move their workplace to a destination which involved a change of home. The Court of Appeal does not deal, however, with whether the mobility clause was justifiable.

In Meade-Hill and another v The British Council, the Court of Appeal holds that the inclusion of a mobility clause in a married woman's contract of employment constituted indirect discrimination against her as a woman under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. The clause was therefore unenforceable unless her employer could objectively justify its inclusion.

Indirect sex discrimination is defined by s.1(1)(b) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 ("SDA").