De Souza v Automobile Association
Employment - Racial Discrimination: CA (May, Slade and Neill LJJ): 19 December 1985
The employee, a coloured secretary, complained to an industrial tribunal that an instruction made in her absence by one of the employers' managers to another manager to 'get his typing done by the wog' amounted to unlawful discrimination on the gr ound of race, contrary to s. 4(4)(c) of the Race Relations Act 1976. The industrial tribunal dismissed her complaint and an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal was also dismissed.
The employee appealed.
Stephen Sedley QC and Robin Allen (instructed by Snow & Bispham, Basingstoke) for the employee. Eldred Tabachnik QC and George Pulman (instructed by Amery-Parkes & Co, Basingstoke) for the employers.
May LJ said that for something to amount to a 'detriment' within the meaning of s. 4(2)(c), it had to be a detriment or disadvantage to the employee in connection with his employment context. Racially to insult a coloured employee was not enough by itself, even if that insult caused distress; before the employee could be said to have been subjected to some detriment the court or tribunal had to hold that by reason of the act or acts complained of a reasonable worker would or might take the view that he had thereby been disadvantaged in the circumstances in which he had thereafter to work. The findings of the industrial tribunal in the present case did not support such a conclusion.
Slade and Neill LJJ agreed.
Appeal dismissed with costs.
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