chapter  6
14 Pages

The benign motive ‘defence’ and victimisation

ByMichael Connolly

This chapter focuses on the emergence of the defence in House of Lords cases decided under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the similarly worded Race Relations Act 1976. The importunate dissenters did not confine their desire for a benign motive 'defence' to direct discrimination. Victimisation provides a separate course of action for persons treated unfavourably because they had complained of discrimination, or supported a complaint, or did something else by reference to the legislation. In the House of Lords case, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police v Khan , Sergeant Khan brought proceedings for racial discrimination against his employer. The statutory purpose ought to include the deterrent, or 'chilling', effect of the employer's reaction on other workers. Lloyd and Parker LJJ, applied Khan, and after noting the distinction between the bringing and the existence of the proceedings, held that the 'honest and reasonable' test applied equally to attempts to compromise proceedings.