P was a civil servant who had a union post that took up much of his time. When he applied for promotion D refused on the grounds that P would need some managerial experience before he could be promoted to a higher pay grade. P argued that since taking up a managerial role would require him to cut down on his union work, this requirement had the “purpose of deterring him from involvement in the activities of a trade union”, contrary to (repealed legislation, but looks like forerunner to) s.146 TULRCA. CA dismissed the claim, stating that the word ‘purpose’ in the legislation referred only to an illegitimate purpose. Here the purpose was to ensure that those on the top pay grade had sufficient managerial experience, which was legitimate.
Neil LJ: The purpose was nothing to do with union activities, but ensuring that senior employees were suitably experienced. The court doesn’t say it, but what it’s getting at is whether the employer promotions board had the reduction of P’s union involvement in mind as the overarching aim, or whether that may merely have been necessary to pursue a legitimate aim/purpose, such as the ensuring that executive staff are experienced in management.