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Employee fails to delay his dismissal following ‘racist remarks'

Posted: 18th March 2015   In: Business Employment, Individual Employment

A surgeon who was sacked after allegedly making racist remarks has failed to get an injunction preventing his employer going ahead with the dismissal.

The case involved a consultant general surgeon who attended a meeting with a number of other doctors. After some of those doctors had left, he allegedly made remarks about them that the NHS Trust employer considered to be unacceptable.

The Trust said the remarks were discriminatory on grounds of race, nationality and ethnicity and were contrary to its HR policies on equality. The surgeon was dismissed for gross misconduct. He appealed on the grounds that the remarks were not discriminatory and were not serious enough to justify dismissal for gross misconduct.

He also applied to the court for an interim injunction preventing the Trust going ahead with the dismissal before the disciplinary appeal could be heard.

The judge said it was difficult to understand how the Trust considered the surgeon’s remarks to be discriminatory and enough to justify dismissal, but that would be a matter for the disciplinary hearing, not the court.

There was no arguable case that a court would grant an injunction ordering the Trust to continue employing the surgeon if he were to win his appeal. There was therefore no justification for granting an interim injunction preventing dismissal before the hearing took place.

If the appeal hearing were to decide that the dismissal was unfair, the surgeon could be adequately compensated by being awarded damages.

Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.