British Worker Overseas? How Much Protection Do You Really Have?

employment lawMany cases involving unfair dismissal and discrimination involving workforces overseas, are not covered by UK employment laws. The act clearly states that it “leaves it up to the tribunals to determine whether the law applies, depending for example, on the connection between the employment relationship and Great Britain.”

An example of this can be seen with Megan Cox. She was hired for a cabin crew role by Emirates Airlines, however after looking at her medical records they withdrew the position, stating that their staff are responsible for public welfare, and therefore must comply with certain pre-employment conditions. Cox had previously suffered from depression, despite having overcome the problem. She felt she had suffered discrimination, but there was little she was able to do about it as employment law wouldn’t cover roles overseas.

The 2010 equality Act can be called upon by job-seekers, employees, workers, contract workers and partners. They can do this regardless of whether they have started employment or whether the work is currently ongoing. However, claims are dependent upon certain factors, such as the currency an employee is paid in, where they live, and whether they contribute towards National Insurance etc. This means that even if someone is recruited in Britain, there is no guarantee that they will be covered by UK employment law for protection.

With no fixed definitions, the lines remain blurry for overseas employment claims as the decision lies in the hands of a tribunal. However those who feel they have suffered unfair treatment, regardless of whether they are employed in Britain or overseas, are urged to come forward. Every claim requires determination, therefore every claim has a chance of survival and should not be ignored. After all, nothing is lost if the claim does not go through.

The question now however, is whether the Equality Act should be re-examined to cater for those not working in Britain.

Michael Lewin



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