Year of Call: 2004
Discrimination & Equality | Employment
Dee Masters has been ranked in the legal directories since 2010 as a leading employment barrister. According to an article in The Lawyer magazine in 2019, Dee Masters was one of the "top 10" female juniors appearing in the EAT.
"A very strong advocate, who is determined and hard-working." "She's utterly brilliant - incredibly smart, has a wonderful manner with clients, cuts through complicated facts quickly with precision and is extremely effective on her feet." Chambers & Partners 2021
“Strategic, insightful and excellent technically, with great commercial acumen and excellent inter-personal skills with witnesses, opposing counsel, judges and panels. A great asset to have on your team!" Legal 500 2021
As a recognised expert in her field, her practice primarily consists of multi-week trials involving multiple and complex allegations. She is instructed by employers, employees and unions in high value or important claims. Due to her expertise, she regularly advises NGOs and government agencies on the development of discrimination law and she has delivered judicial training on discrimination law at ERA in Trier funded by the European Commission. She is also Head of Employment within Cloisters.
Over the past 16 years, she has represented and advised clients in the following sectors:
- Financial services (including banking and regulatory clients)
- Education (including universities)
- Private healthcare
- Local government
She has particular expertise in equal pay having represented both employers and employees in complex equal pay claims since 2006. At the beginning of her practice, she acted as a junior in the public sector equal pay litigation which started in the North of England representing large multiples of female claimants in low paid roles in the NHS. This led to appearing, at appellate level, in some of the defining equal pay cases which arose from the public sector pay disputes such as Bainbridge (no 2). More recently, she has represented banks and private companies in potentially valuable equal pay litigation including the recent wave of claims in the retail sector. She also regularly represents well-paid women in banking, and other sectors, who are suing their employers for underpayment in relation to contractual and bonus pay.
Alongside equal pay, Dee has particular expertise in age discrimination law. She appeared in the Supreme Court in Seldon, led by Robin Allen QC, which was a ground breaking age discrimination case. Subsequently, she has advised the Equality Commission of Northern Ireland (ECNI) and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY) on its response to proposed legislation extending the existing prohibition on age discrimination. In August 2015, she was the keynote speaker at a conference attended by politicians and policy makers in Belfast concerning age discrimination. Dee has also been advising AGE PLATFORM, an NGO, on a proposed European Directive which will extend the prohibition on age discrimination. She is also advising them on the content of a proposed new UN Convention on age discrimination. She drafted the Technical Guidance accompanying the ban on age discrimination in goods, facilities and services on behalf of the Equality and Human Rights Commission in GB alongside colleagues in chambers. In 2018, she gave evidence as an expert witness to the Women and Equalities Committee on older people in the workplace.
Dee is a leading practitioner in the technology space in relation to the interplay between artificial intelligence, equality law, human rights and data protection. She advises companies on auditing AI systems to ensure compliance with equality law as well as policy makers, NGOs and unions. Along with Robin Allen QC, she hosts www.ai-lawhub.com which contains information on how service providers can ensure that technology complies with the Equality Act 2010 as well as recent examples of her advisory work in this area.
Dee has particular interest in the education sector having advised on discrimination issues in the employment field as well as claims in the County Court. In 2014, she advised the Equality and Human Rights Commission on the extent to which gender segregation was permitted within university campuses. She has also advised on the use of retirement ages in an education setting. Dee is also a governor for a school in Twickenham.
Dee has conducted independent investigations into sensitive employment matters.
Legal 500 2021: “Strategic, insightful and excellent technically, with great commercial acumen and excellent inter-personal skills with witnesses, opposing counsel, judges and panels. A great asset to have on your team!”
Chambers & Partners 2020: "Incredibly intelligent, client-friendly and pragmatic." "A very responsive barrister who gives great client care."
Legal 500 2020: "A committed barrister who understands the nuances of discrimination law in a detailed way."
Chambers & Partners 2019: "Heads the employment group and has extensive knowledge regarding equal pay and discrimination issues, with a particular focus on age discrimination. She represents both employers and employees. "She provides strategic advice and is very insightful". "She posseses excellent advocacy skills and she instils total confidence with her clients. She is a pleasure to work with", "Organised, client-friendly and well rounded".
Legal 500 2019: "An all-round class act and technically excellent in discrimination and equal pay cases."
Chambers & Partners 2018: "A really good advocate", "Very thorough, well prepared and on top of the detail."
Legal 500 2017: "An impressive advocate."
Chambers & Partners 2017: "...extensive knowledge of discrimination issues, with particular focus upon age discrimination issues. Clients praise her impressive client-handling skills, especially her ability to outline risks and explain concepts to lay clients. Strengths: "She is practical, diligent and thorough, with a good eye for the key issues at hand." "She is bright, responsive and commercially astute."
Legal 500 2016: "She can hold her own against some of the employment silk heavyweights and can create novel arguments."
Chambers & Partners 2016 "... she has established a reputation as an adviser with a formidable knowledge of discrimination law."
Legal 500 2015: "She has a rare combination of deep insight, commercial nous and clever tactical ability."
Chambers & Partners 2015: "Acknowledged for her impressive client service, she is praised for stringently fighting her client's corner. She is very experienced in acting on complex and high-profile cases, and regularly advises on a diverse range of subjects including TUPE and all forms of discrimination". "Very on the ball, she thinks outside the box." "She's thorough and grasps the papers quickly. She's also user-friendly and clients like her."
Legal 500 2014: "Excellent cross-examination skills."
Chambers & Partners 2014: "She's a supremely able advocate, who really charms the tribunal." "She is an expert in age equality law."
Chambers & Partners 2013: "... continues to impress sources with her 'thorough preparation, excellent performances in tribunal and the confidence she instils in instructing solicitors."
Chambers & Partners 2012: "… well respected … ‘impressive beyond her years.' She exudes confidence and is able to tackle very tricky arguments and get brilliant results.”
Chambers & Partners 2011: "confident but never arrogant, Dee Masters has had a great year, topped off by being chosen as the junior on Wilson and Bainbridge."
APPOINTMENTS AND MEMBERSHIPS
Member of the Management Committee of ELA (2016 - 2018)
Head of Employment within Cloisters (2016 - )
Member of the Bar Council's Equality Diversity & Social Mobility Committee (2018-2019)
Member of the Bar Council's Recruitment & Retention Committee (2018-to present)
PUBLICATIONS AND TRAINING
"How effective is whistleblowing protection for workers at the centre of the Covid-19 pandemic?" (UK Labour Law Blog, May 2020, co-written with Schona Jolly QC)
"Artificial intelligence: the right to protection from discrimination caused by algorithms, machine learning and automated decision-making", ERA Form, 20(4), 585-598 (April 2020, co-written with Robin Allen QC)
"In the matter of automated data processing in government decision making" (September 2019)
"Algorithms, Apps & Artificial Intelligence: Can data protection laws be used to challenge discriminatory tech?" (July 2018, co-written with Robin Allen QC)
"Algorithms, Apps & Artificial Intelligence: The Next Frontier in Discrimination Law" (July 2018, co-written with Robin Allen QC)
"Identifying direct discrimination in “proxy cases” after R (on the application of Coll) v Secretary of State for Justice" (Blog, May 2017)
"The Conseil d'État in France has recently overturned a ban on “burkinis”: Is French secularism now under attack?" (Blog, August 2016)
"Identifying secondary victims: discrimination by association vs discrimination by ricochet" (ELA, July 2016)
"Equal pay: equal value claims and procedure" (PLC, maintained note)
"CJEU confirms that certain retirement schemes can discriminate on the grounds of age" (Blog, June 2016)
"Challenging stereotypical assumptions: age discrimination and student loans" (Blog, June 2016)
"Privacy at work: monitoring employee communications" (PLC magazine, March 2016)
"Age discrimination and the taxation of pension income" (Blog, February 2016)
"The European Accessibility Act: A proposed new duty to make reasonable adjustments in relation to services / products for disabled people and certain age groups" (Blog, January 2016)
"Age discrimination in goods, facilities and services" (Legal Island, 10th Equality Law Update, Belfast, December 2015).
"Goods, facilities and services: Age discrimination problems arise in unexpected places" (Blog, November 2015)
"Strengthening protection for all ages: proposals for reform of age discrimination in goods, facilities and services" (Belfast ECNI Conference, August 2015)
"Taming sweeping discrimination claims: could a staged approach work?" (ELA, July 2015)
"Indirect associative discrimination: a regressive step?" (Michael Rubenstein blog, April 2015)
"Moving towards equality: Justifying transitional schemes" (ELA, November 2014)
"Equality Act Update" (LexisNexis webinar, October 2014)
"Age discrimination, collegiality and leaver provisions" (Michael Rubenstein blog, September 2014)
"Leaver provisions in bonus schemes: avoiding age discrimination" (PLC Magazine, June 2014)
"Proving discrimination: The Shifting Burden of Proof" (Judicial training session at the ERA, Trier, May 2014)
"Protection for all ages: Protecting Children and Young People against Unlawful Discrimination in Goods, Facilities and Services" (Expert Paper for ECNI and NICCY, April 2013)
"Handling employee disputes: watch your step" (PLC Magazine, August 2013)
"Seldon and compulsory Retirement: the final chapter" (PLC Magazine, July 2013)
"Legal Advice Privilege: an update following Prudential?" (ELA Magazine, May 2013)
"Discrimination in Employment (a claims handbook)" (co-author, LAG, April 2013)
"Collective redundancy law shake up: reducing the burden on employers?" (PLC Magazine, Jan/Feb 2013)
"End to gender based discrimination in the financial sector" (Cloisters view point, 2012)
"Should retirement ages be linked to pension eligibility?" (ELA Magazine, September / October 2012)
"Beginner's guide to the ban on age discrimination in goods and services" in the Law Society Gazette (2012)
London School of Economics (LLM) specialising in employment law
• Pets at Home v Mackenzie (January 2018, UKEAT/0146/17/RN): Affirmation of repudiatory breaches and the final straw.
• Rochford v WNS Global Services (UK) Ltd (October 2017, Court of Appeal): Interplay between disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.
• Leicester City Council v Sansome (August 2017, UKEAT/0257/16/LA): Whether suspension is a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence.
• Waiyego v First Great Western Limited (February 2016, UKEAT/0298/15/JOJ): Strike out and wasted costs.
• Mist v Derby Community Health Services  ICR 543: Early conciliation procedure, TUPE and applications to amend.
• John Charles v NHS Business Services Authority (December 2015, UKEAT/0105/15/BA): Natural justice and unfair dismissal.
• Fathers v Pets at Home Ltd (June 2014, UKEAT/0424/13/DM): Correct approach towards determining disability.
• Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes  ICR 716 (SC): This ground breaking case was the first time that the Supreme Court considered the law relating to direct age discrimination. It clarifies the conceptual basis of direct age discrimination and the test of justification. Led by Robin Allen QC.
• Sheffield City Council v Gibson (SC): This was to be the leading case of 2011 concerning the burden of proof in equal pay cases. The matter was resolved shortly prior to the Supreme Court hearing.
• Wilson v HSE  ICR 302 (CA): This is the leading case on the impact of the ECJ judgment in Cadman and the use of length of service criterion in pay systems. Led by Robin Allen QC.
• Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council v. Bainbridge  ICR 133 (CA): Equal pay case which examined the lawfulness of pay protection arrangements which perpetuated historic sex discrimination. Led by Robin Allen QC.
• Potter v. North Cumbria Acute NHS Hospitals  IRLR 900 (EAT): Equal pay case which examined whether the introduction of Agenda for Change led to the termination of contracts of employment within the NHS. Led by Robin Allen QC.
• Potter v. North Cumbria Acute NHS Hospitals  IRLR 176 (EAT): Equal pay case which explored the requirement for a “single source” where s.1 (6) of the EPA 1970 was satisfied. Led by Robin Allen QC.
• Shaw v. CCL Ltd  IRLR 284 (EAT): This was a leading case of 2008 involving allegations of indirect sex and pregnancy discrimination.
• Bainbridge v Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council  ICR 238 (CA): Equal pay case which considered whether the claimants could bring an equal pay claim under section 1(2) (b) of the EPA 1970 in circumstances where the male comparators were rated less favourably under a JES. Led by Robin Allen QC.