£1million compensation at Tribunal for unfair dismissal following racist attack
A man has been awarded a £1million compensation payment after an Employment Tribunal ruled that he was unfairly dismissed for defending himself from a racist attack.
The former IT manager from an NHS Trust in England experienced an altercation with a delivery driver whilst at work. The driver racially abused the employee, who is of Caribbean descent – and assaulted him.
The employee called the hospital’s security office for help, but nobody came to his aid. Despite an exemplary work record, he was then accused of assault for attempting to take a note of the van’s registration number and defending himself from the attack.
The tribunal heard how the Trust’s disciplinary consistently painted the employee as ‘the aggressor’, although CCTV footage showed this not to be the case.
“The Tribunal found that the Trust’s initial investigation into the employee’s suspension was ‘fundamentally flawed’ and served only to support the organisation’s bias towards the employee. The substantial damages awarded by the Tribunal reflected the significant loss of the claimant’s pension rights following his dismissal and serve as a timely reminder to employers with final salary schemes in place that losses at tribunal can result in huge compensation awards.
The judgment also serves as a reminder that every advisory or decision-making role in disciplinary procedures carries the responsibility of reviewing all the evidence, or lack of evidence, and questioning any omissions or potential bias to avoid fundamentally affecting the outcome.