Damian’s cases have been reported in national media: newspapers,
Moira Stuart vs The BBC
Damian McCarthy represented the veteran newsreader in her high profile age discrimination case against the BBC. Ms Stuart spent over 30 years employed by the BBC before abruptly resigning from her position in 2007.
Her leaving came six months after she lost her job on the current affairs programme Sunday AM, which led to rumours that the 58-year-old had been gradually pressured into leaving the BBC due to the corporation considering her too old to continue news-reading; a belief expressed by many of her high-profile colleagues such as Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys who supported her by calling for her immediate reinstatement.
The BBC denied age discrimination with director general Mark Thompson denying the allegations and attempting to justify the decision by claiming to MPs that the decision was made because traditional newsreader roles had “virtually died out”.
This dubious claim was challenged by Tory MP David Ruffley, the former vice-chairman of the all-party BBC group, who said: “If she is being edged out – and especially if it is because of her age – that is not only short-sighted, it is a complete disgrace.”
Stuart is a leading figure in British broadcasting. Her achievements include being first black female newsreader on British television and receiving an OBE in 2001 for her services.
Stuart subsequently launched an age discrimination claim against the BBC with Damian representing her. Using his specialist employment law skills, Damian wasted no time in addressing Ms Stuart’s rights while making made clear the discriminatory nature of the case: “The BBC has clearly not heard of age discrimination – or if it has it is not enforcing it. The BBC must reverse their decision and get Moira back on our screens.”
Ms Stuart’s case was successful, and in 2010 she returned to the BBC as newsreader for the The Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Radio 2; a position she currently holds in addition to several other presenting jobs she subsequently gained with the BBC.
Haley Tansey vs HBOS
Haley Tansey is a former Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) manager who claimed she was forced from her job by male colleagues who created a “harassing and laddish culture” at the company which involved her being subjected to unwanted advances from colleagues.
She brought her concerns to the Employment Tribunal in 2010 with Damian representing HBOS. She was ultimately unsuccessful in her claim as Damian was able to point out the glaring errors in her case and thanks to his efforts the outstanding reputation of a globally recognised company like HBOS was maintained.
Mrs Tansey’s claim was for £604,000 and involved numerous instances of sexual harassment, including a claim that a drunk colleague forced his way into her hotel room while on a business trip and proceeded to strip naked. Other acts Mrs Tanesey claimed to have witnessed included male colleagues bragging about their sex lives in the office and watching pornography on their computers.
Damian countered these claims by pointing out that a period of nine years has passed between the 1998 hotel incident and when Mrs Tansey made her claim and that she had shown no sign of suffering during the interim and had continued to work for the company right up until 2008. Damian also noted that the colleague involved in the case had a very different version of events which in contrast to Mrs Tansey’s claim actually involved her appearing naked in front of him.
Damian also challenged the notion of a patriarchal attitude existing at HBOS by stating that Mrs Tansey would not have been continually promoted during her seventeen years with the company if this were the case.
A controversial case involving such as a high profile respondent like this one required great skill and dedication from Damian, allowing him to present the full extent of his ability as an employment lawyer.
Damian acted for the widow of a former Royal Marine shot dead by colleague in a private security firm.
A vs PricewaterhouseCoopers
The case of A vs PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) was a case involving race discrimination and victimisation experienced by a very senior partner at PWC for a period that lasted ten years. This highly complex case involved a £2.6 million claim made by A against PwC.
Damian McCarthy represented A alongside Chris Jeans QC (awarded Best Employment QC in 2011) during the long Employment Tribunal hearings that followed.
The Evening Standard covered the case and wrote the following:
One of Britain’s leading accountancy firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers, is steeped in “Anglo-Saxon male culture” that discriminates against non-whites, a partner has alleged.
A, is suing the firm for £2.6 million, accusing it of racism and paying him less than white colleagues.
Butlins Skyline Ltd and another v. Beynon  ICR 121
“New” ET Rules – what counts as a valid submission of a response and the power of an ET to review an ET decision and/or review a decision of a member of ET staff.
It has been held that the rejection of a response by the Secretary under r 6(1), albeit only an administrative act, is nevertheless a ´decision´ within the meaning of r 34(1)(a), and that, accordingly, where it is alleged that such rejection was erroneous, it is capable of being reviewed under r 34; alternatively, it may be appealed to the EAT under s 21(1) of the ETA.
Sharp v Caledonia Group Services  ICR 218, IRLR 4
An equal pay case won at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), led by Robin Allen QC. The EAT held that an employer needs to objectively justify a Material Factor Defence. The case was backed by the Equal Opportunities Commission.
The EAT held that there is “no reason whatsoever for not following the Brunnhofer decision which provides clear guidelines in equal pay cases as to the need for objective justification in all cases; insofar as there is a conflict between that decision and earlier UK decisions then we must now follow the European decision.”
Grimmer v KLM CityHopper UK  IRLR 596
The Claimant applied to her employers for flexible working for reasons of child care. She submitted a claim to the employment tribunal requesting “flexible working”. The employment tribunal refused to admit her claim on the grounds that she had not provided “details of the claim”.
The EAT held: the employment tribunal had erred. It is a vital principle, that the Rules of Procedure cannot cut down on an employment tribunal´s jurisdiction to entertain a complaint which the primary legislation providing an employment right empowers it to determine and, if there is a conflict, the rules must give way.
Paul v National Probation Service  IRLR 190
An important claim concerning a failure to make reasonable adjustments and justification.
The employment tribunal held that, in a situation where all job applicants were required to have clearance from occupational health before taking up employment, the requirement to this effect was an ´arrangement´ which had to be justified.
The EAT disagreed, on the basis that not all disability affects general health. Thus the particular applicant was not placed at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons not disabled by reason of the employer’s insistence on occupational health clearance.
The substantial disadvantage arose not from the existence of the requirement, but rather from the assessment carried out by the occupational health adviser as to the demanding nature of the post to which the claimant had applied. Because the tribunal had incorrectly identified the ´arrangements´ that applied, the finding that there was justification for failure to comply could not stand, and the matter was remitted to tribunal for rehearing.
Sheridan v Stanley Cole (Wainfleet) Ltd  ICR 1449
The Court of Appeal considered human rights and the right to a fair hearing. The decision of tribunal referred to authorities which parties had had no opportunity to address.
The question of proper approach for determining whether hearing rendered unfair in such circumstances.
Post Office v Sanhortha  ICR 866 EAT
Where the relevant factor causing a claimant to believe that he has grounds for making a claim is an alleged fraudulent misrepresentation made to him by his employer, the fact that the circumstances giving rise to this belief were not known during the three-month time limit may render it not reasonably practicable to present the claim in time.
Whistleblower and anti-corruption campaigner – crowdfunding to prosecute HSBC:
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We want to be completely clear and open with you – so have set out below examples of the type of paperwork we use. These documents will help you understand your rights and how we will work on your behalf. These documents will be slightly amended in each case so that you have your own individualised “client care” documents.
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About Damian McCarthy
I am a Senior Advocate (England and Wales) at Nationwide Employment Lawyers Ltd (www.natemplaw.co.uk) and not a barrister in independent practice. This means I can offer a superior level of service to clients. Nationwide Employment Lawyers Ltd is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For peace of mind you can find information about our authorisation by checking the Registration number 838365 on the Financial Services Register : register.fca.org.uk. Please note all telephone calls are recorded, as required by the regulator. Nationwide Employment Lawyers Ltd is not a firm of solicitors. Instead it offers an exceptional level of service using specialist employment law Solicitors, Barristers and a Senior Advocate. Please contact me using either the questionnaire, quick contact form above or on 0333 242 3851.
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