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An employment tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear the claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract brought by an employee of a group of shipping companies as he did not satisfy the conditions in the Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011 reg.4(1)(a) because he was not employed on a United Kingdom registered vessel with a port in Great Britain specified as the vessel's registered port of choice.
The appellant employee (H) appealed against a decision of an employment tribunal that it did not have jurisdiction to hear his claim for unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract in respect of unpaid notice pay against any of the three respondent companies (S).
S were all part of the Shell group of shipping companies. H had been employed as a Second Officer on a Singapore-flagged vessel by the first respondent, a company registered in Singapore. Although the first respondent was legally H's employer it contracted out his day-to-day management to the third respondent, a company registered in the Isle of Man. The first respondent had also entered into a manning agreement with the second respondent, which was an English-registered company with its head office in London.
HELD: (1) The Equality Act 2010 applied to seafarers working onboard ship in prescribed circumstances set out in the Equality Act 2010 (Work on Ships and Hovercraft) Regulations 2011. H did not satisfy the conditions in reg.4(1)(a) of the Regulations because he was not employed on a UK-registered vessel with a port in Great Britain specified as the vessel's registered port of choice. There was therefore no jurisdiction to hear the discrimination claim (see paras 8-20 of judgment). (2) The tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear the unfair dismissal claim because the first respondent did not reside or carry on business in England and Wales as required by the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2004 reg.19(1)(a). No strained construction of that regulation could be adopted in the instant case, Pervez v Macquarie Bank Ltd  I.C.R. 266 considered (paras 21-37 ). (3) The claim for breach of contract was assessed by reference to the test contained in reg.19(1)(a), namely whether had the remedy been by way of action in the county court, the cause of action would have arisen wholly or partly in England and Wales. The breach of contract occurred outside the jurisdiction. The tribunal therefore had no jurisdiction in respect of the contractual claim (paras 38-43).
Counsel for the respondents: Philip Mead
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