‘Time and tide wait for no man'

Geoffrey Chaucer (1343-1400)

The Employment Tribunals in London recently considered a series of complaints of discrimination, harassment and victimization on grounds of race made by two former paratroopers.

By way of background, the Claimants, both of black African origin, alleged that they had been subjected to harassment for several years.  Many of their claims were, however, ruled inadmissible due to the passage of time.  It should be noted that, in Northern Ireland, most tribunal claims must be made within three months, but this can vary. 

Complaints that fell within the jurisdiction of the tribunal included an incident in January 2018 when photographs of the Claimants displayed outside their rooms, in an area of the barracks accessible only with a key, were defaced with Nazi symbols and derogatory comments.  

Judge Baty presiding concluded that this was ‘unquestionably related to race’ and must have been carried out by a member of their own battalion:

… with the purpose of violating the claimants’ dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating and offensive environment for them…

The conduct was unquestionably unwanted; the graffiti in question was of the most unpleasant nature, set out on… personal photographs and was racially highly offensive.

The Claimants are reported to be pursuing a claim for compensation on foot of the ruling. 

In the meantime, the Secretary of State for Defence commissioned a review of armed forces culture which reported in July 2019 and made various recommendations to address systemic discrimination, bullying and harassment.

For more information on this article, or any other aspect of our business and personal legal solutions, get in touch.  There is no charge for initial informal advices.

Zulu & Gue v. Ministry of Defence (Employment Tribunals, 5 September 2019)

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