Jaguar Land Rover must pay out £19,000 over ‘racist slurs’

Published: 2 June 2017

Category: Legal News

Jaguar Land Rover has been ordered to pay £19,000 compensation to a black employee who was subjected to racist slurs by staff and management.

Mr Paul Hoyte claimed he had regularly suffered abuse and harassment because of his race and disabilities.

The Employment Tribunal was told that Mr Hoyte suffered from depression, anxiety and irritable bowel syndrome. He had been off work for nearly two years before he was dismissed in March 2016 on the grounds of capability.

The tribunal rejected his claim that he was unfairly dismissed but accepted his claim of harassment and disability discrimination. It found that “racially offensive” terms were used by management and colleagues.

Judge Lloyd said: “One of those we think was the word ‘Abo’. We think that word had probably been used sporadically of the claimant for some time during his employment by associate and management staff.

“Ironically, we do not think it was meant to be gratuitously offensive.

“But we cannot avoid the conclusion that it was bound to be very racially offensive to a black man like the claimant.”

“We believe this was part of harassing conduct towards the claimant, which impugned his dignity significantly; even if it was not an intended as a deliberate racial slur.”

Mr Hoyte needed to take urgent toilet breaks due to his condition but was told that he needed to ask permission before stopping work.

Judge Lloyd said: “We acknowledged the importance of health and safety in the working environment, but we nevertheless find that the procedure which the claimant was mandated to follow was intrusive to his reasonable privacy and dignity.

“Given the nature of his medical condition, that rule was both embarrassing and demeaning in a way that a non-disabled colleague would not be subjected to.”

Mr Hoyte was awarded compensation of £19,152.

Judge Lloyd added: “We do not believe that the respondent (Jaguar) is an institutionally racist employer. Or, that the working environment is one in which racism flourishes at all; and let alone unchecked.

“We do however believe that there was a relative failure on the respondent’s part to acknowledge the proper sensitivities of a worker like the claimant who with good reason felt vulnerable to less favourable treatment or unfavourable treatment.”

Please contact Matthew Sigsworth in our Dispute Resolution Team if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.