Firm wins appeal over groundless race discrimination claim
A security firm found itself in an unusual situation recently when it was judged to have discriminated against an employee on grounds of race even though he had made up his claim as a smokescreen during disciplinary proceedings.
The case involved a security guard of Indian origin who faced an allegation by his manager that he had been drinking at work, or shortly before arriving at work. He was suspended while the allegation was investigated.
During the proceedings, he alleged that his manager had offended him with racially abusive language.
The Employment Tribunal found the allegations about racial abuse to be untrue and concluded that the employee had simply made them up because he was going to be disciplined. However, the tribunal still upheld his claim of racial discrimination because he had been treated differently to his manager, who was white.
The difference was that the manager’s allegations about alcohol had been investigated by the firm whereas the employee’s allegation about racial abuse had not. The tribunal didn’t award any damages as the employee had suffered no injury to his feelings because his allegations had been untrue.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has overturned the decision about race discrimination. It held that there had to be some sort of detriment or injury for a discrimination claim to succeed. In this case, the employee could not claim a grievance from the fact that an allegation he had invented had not been investigated.
Please contact Robert Bedford if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.