Driskel v Peninsula Business Services Ltd EAT/1120/98

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The drip effect is critical

This is a useful authority as it records and affirms the correct approach to claims involving a series of incidents, something of crucial importance when dealing with a course of conduct of harassment.

The most telling references are from Reed and Bull Information Systems Ltd v Stedman (1999) 1RCR 299:

“It is particularly important in cases of alleged sexual harassment that the fact finding tribunal should not carve up the case into a series of specific incidents and try (to) measure the harm or detriment in relation to each.”

And an unidentified decision of a U.S. Federal Appeal Court, which stressed:

“….. the trier of fact must keep in mind that each successive episode has its predecessors, that the impact of the separate incidents may accumulate and that the work environment may exceed the sum of the individual episodes.”

Therefore, here the EAT concluded that the correct approach should be:

“The Tribunal hears the evidence and finds the facts. As has already been pointed out it is desirable not to include in this exercise judgments as to the discriminatory significance, if any, of individual incidents – judgment thus far should be limited to the finding of all facts that are prima facie relevant. If ad hoc assessments ‘discrimination or no’ are made the result is a fragmented and discursive judgment; more importantly, there is the potential noted in Reed and Bull for ignoring the impact of totality of successive incidents, individually trivial.”

 Driskel v Peninsula Business Services Ltd EAT/1120/98



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One response to “Driskel v Peninsula Business Services Ltd EAT/1120/98

  1. Pingback: A flawed approach? | Chop the Knot

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