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No backdating jurisdiction

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Partners Group (UK) Ltd and anor v Mulumba

An employee who is contracted to work overseas will only be able to bring claims in the Employment Tribunal if they can establish a sufficiently strong connection with Great Britain and British employment law. In Partners Group (UK) Ltd and anor v Mulumba the issue was whether all the appropriate factors had been taken into consideration when assessing whether an employee of a US company could bring claims in respect of alleged incidents that had occurred both prior to and during the time that she had worked in Great Britain.

Facts

Ms Mulumba, a national of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was employed by PG Inc, a US company, under an international Associate Program. She was given placements in group companies in the US, Switzerland and London. She was not offered a position upon completion of the placement in London. However she was allowed to continue in employment to maintain her immigration status in the UK while she looked for other work. Ms Mulumba had then made various complaints and her employment was subsequently terminated. She brought proceedings alleging discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Decision

The employer disputed that there was jurisdiction. The Employment Appeal Tribunal allowed the employer’s appeal and found it would be necessary to establish as at what point the employment came within the jurisdiction. It was found to be insufficient that Ms Mulumba was simply employed here on a temporary placement under the Associate Program. The continuation of her employment afterwards might be sufficient though even if it was not a permanent post. It was held that the case needed to be considered again taking into account also that the contract of employment was subject to New York law.

Key takeaway point

All the surrounding factors need be taken into consideration when assessing whether there is sufficient connection for the Employment Tribunal to have jurisdiction. In this case the Tribunal had been correct to have regard to the length of time the individual spent working in London following the end of her ‘international’ placement and the degree to which she had become integrated within the office. However whether there was jurisdiction to consider her claims would also depend on when she alleged the incidents had taken place.

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