Direct Discrimination Unconscious Bias in the workplace can cost!
A civil servant who worked for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has won her claim for direct race discrimination.
As a civil servant for 33 years, the claimant was subjected to discrimination when she was questioned about her sex life by the FCDO. The Claimant had been accused of having an affair with an employee of Nigerian charity, recently awarded a £2m grant. A charge she denied. She was subsequently accused of misconduct, including failing to disclose a relationship conflict of interest.
Documents show that an all-white FCDO team conducted a six-month investigation into the allegations and then sent the claimant a final written warning. The hearing was determined to have been inherently discriminatory with the team making assumptions about the claimant’s guilt without having properly investigated fact with the claimant herself.
The tribunal has not yet ruled on compensation although the remedy hearing is planned for February.
This case highlights the importance of conducting fair and consistent investigations and ensuring that discrimination is considered as a potential risk when leading investigations and reaching disciplinary conclusions.
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