The House of Lords delivered its opinion yesterday in Seymour-Smith.
The majority (Lords Nicholls, Goff and Jauncey) held that the increase in the qualification period for claiming unfair dismissal from one year to two years in 1985 DID have the effect that a considerably smaller percentage of women could claim unfair dismissal. Accordingly, it WAS indirectly discriminatory against women, although the "figures are in borderline country (Lord Slynn)".
However, they found that the Secretary of State had discharged the burden of showing objective justification for the increase - accordingly the increase was lawful and Mrs Seymour-Smith lost her case.
The minority (Lords Slynn and Steyn) held that the increase in 1985 did NOT have the effect that a considerably smaller percentage of women could claim unfair dismissal, thus there was no indirect discrimination.
Accordingly it was unnecessary to consider the issue of objective justification.
The full judgment is available from