EAT hands down important judgment about judicial notice and women’s childcare responsibilities


The EAT has today handed down its judgment in Dobson v Cumbria Partnership NHS [2021].

The Appellant was a community nurse who worked fixed days each week. The Respondent Trust sought to change her hours so that she would have to work different days each week, including working at weekends. The Appellant was dismissed after she said she was unable to do this because of her caring responsibilities for her three children, two of whom were disabled. She brought claims for unfair dismissal and indirect sex discrimination.

In the EAT Working Families successfully argued that judicial notice should be taken of the fact that women, because of their childcare responsibilities, are less likely to be able to accommodate certain working patterns than men. The judgment provides welcome clarity about what evidence women need to bring indirect sex discrimination claims challenging working patterns that conflict with childcare responsibilities. The case will be remitted to the ET.

The judgment is here.

Claire Darwin and Emma Foubister appeared for the Intervenor, Working Families. Further information about their work is available here.