Fair dismissal following action against racism

In this case, the claimant was dismissed from her role as a project manager in a bank after complaints were raised about her making derogatory remarks about ethnic minority employees. The employment judge upheld the dismissal finding that the allegations were “sufficiently clear and detailed”.

The claimant was said to have accused a colleague of hiring “thick Black Africans just to make himself look smart” and had a policy of “No Muslims and no Black Africans” when recruiting.

Further accusations related to a “toxic environment” rife with bullying and racial slurs, and instructions to team leaders to “manipulate the scores of candidates interviewed for positions” so that “no black African candidates would secure a role, and that the scores of Muslim candidates would be ‘fixed’ (i.e., revised downwards) to create the impression of a racially diverse set of interviewees, but at the same time ensure they did not secure a role.”

The judge ruled that the claimant had “breached the standard of professional integrity… by using the racially derogatory language… to two team members.”

Under equality legislation, a company is vicariously liable for the behaviour of its staff towards one another, with the result that both the harasser and the employer can be held responsible, with the potential for hefty awards. In this case, the employer took swift action and the decision was backed by the employment tribunal.

121 HR Solutions can assist in the training of managers in areas of Equality in the Workplace simply contact us and we will be happy to discuss.

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