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Tribunal finds NHS hospital trust racially discriminated against employee

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It is understood that an NHS hospital trust has been found to have racially discriminated against an employee, when he was treated unequally to a co-worker, an employment tribunal ruled.

Judge David Brannan reportedly concluded that the claimant was treated in a "materially different way" to a second colleague. The judge stated that the reason that the claimant was suspended for failing to properly adhere to health and safety rules around gas pipes, and not a co-worker who failed on similar grounds, was due to his Sri Lankan heritage.

The claimant instructed that he had been suspended over allegations that he entered false information on health and safety paperwork, but the tribunal heard that his colleague, who was also accused of not documenting information on a risk assessment, was not suspended.

It is reported that his colleague was therefore used as an evidential comparator, an individual who is in the same or similar situation to a claimant but doesn’t share the same protected characteristic as set out in the Equality Act 2010.

A spokesperson for the NHS Foundation Trust, is reported to have said: “Race discrimination is something the trust takes extremely seriously, and we are reassured that the tribunal did not make a finding that any person within the trust was racist…. However, we are taking learning on board from this case and improving awareness around race discrimination.”

The law

The Equality Act 2010 says that you must not be discriminated against because of your race. 

In the Equality Act, race can mean your colour, or your nationality (including your citizenship). It can also mean your ethnic or national origins, which may not be the same as your current nationality.

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination against individuals because of their race, amongst a number of other protected characteristics.

If you feel that you have experienced discrimination, and would like to obtain advice on the matter, you can speak to a member of our specialist discrimination law team on 0161 696 6170.

By Heather Lynch, graduate paralegal