Ms Taiwo was employed as a domestic worker by the Respondents between February 2010 and January 2011. During this period she was subjected to systematic and callous exploitation, including long working hours, restricted access to food, physical and verbal abuse and her salary failed to meet the National Minimum Wage. She brought a number of claims, including a claim for direct, or alternatively, indirect race discrimination. The employment tribunal accepted nearly all of her claims but held that the treatment she had suffered did not amount to direct or indirect race discrimination. An appeal was raised to the Employment Appeal Tribunal on Ms Taiwo’s behalf.
Ms Onu also worked as a domestic worker in the home of the Respondents between March 2008 and June 2010. Like Ms Taiwo, she was subjected to abuse and exploitation during her employment. The tribunal upheld all of her complaints including that her treatment was as a result of her being a migrant worker and so amounted to direct discrimination on the grounds of race. The Respondents appealed the decision to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal handed down judgment on 5 March 2013 and held that unfavourable treatment on the grounds of vulnerability for reasons including immigration status does not constitute race discrimination.
Following this determination, an appeal was raised to the Court of Appeal. The Court of Appeal concluded that the Claimants had been mistreated because of their status as vulnerable migrant workers. The Supreme Court will now consider the issue in April 2016.