The fact that the government had not yet amended the Equality Act 2010 to expressly include caste did not prevent the Claimant from proceeding with her claim on the basis of the current law.
Permila Tirkey was recruited in India to work in a domestic role for her employers as their cleaner and nanny. Permila was then required to work 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, sometimes for as little as 11p per hour between 2008 and 2012. Her caste is the Adivasi which is also known as a "servant" caste. Ms Tirkey claimed that the Chandhoks treated her badly and in a demeaning manner as a consequence of her low status associated with her caste. Ms Tirkey was sleeping on a mattress on the floor, prohibited from bringing her Bible to the UK, prevented from contacting family members or friends at home and given a bank account which was controlled by the Chandhoks.
Following the judgement of the EAT the caste discrimination claim proceeded along with others to a full hearing in the Employment Tribunal. The Tribunal has now awarded Ms Tirkey £183,774 in consequence of not being paid the National Minimum Wage and a further hearing on remedy has been scheduled for 5 and 6 November to establish compensation for her other claims, including caste discrimination.
It was reported that the Government did not explicitly prohibit caste based discrimination in the Equality Act 2010 because there was no evidence of it taking place in the UK. This judgement appears to show that that is not the case. Parliament has had the power to expressly make caste discrimination an aspect of race discrimination but to date have not done so.
In February 2015 the Government Equalities Office indicated that, as a result of the EAT decision in this case, it has no immediate plans to make use of this power.