A former worker with national firm Shoosmiths – who left the firm in 2016 – has had various discrimination claims thrown out by an employment tribunal.
Administrative assistant Bosede Sule, who is of Nigerian origin, was awarded £1,000 compensation for harassment in 2017 but has continued to pursue and escalate her claims against the firm and ex-colleagues.
In total, she brought 14 separate claims against Shoosmiths and six current and former employees, with allegations including race discrimination, age and disability discrimination. Her claims related to her employment ending in 2016, except one relating to rejection of a complaint made to chief executive Simon Boss in July last year.
Sitting at the Manchester tribunal, Employment Judge Tom Ryan supported Shoosmiths’ application to have all claims struck out, concluding they were an abuse of the process.
‘Making repeated claims about the same employment three years after earlier hearings have determined the issues arising from that employment is undoubtedly using the process in a way which is significantly different from the ordinary and proper use of the process', said the judge. ‘I therefore find that these claims are vexatious.’
The latest tribunal heard that Sule had challenged the £1,000 award in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, but this was dismissed as having no reasonable prospect of success. She then saw an application to the original tribunal for reconsideration of its judgment refused.
Three further claims were then presented by her, which were found to be out of time and an abuse of process because they had not been put forward previously. She subsequently appealed, again unsuccessfully, and was told by the judge there must be ‘finality in litigation’. However, she proceeded with the 14 claims that were subject to the latest hearing.
The ‘new’ element of the latest claims concerned Boss’ response to her request for him to investigate matters from her employment. He had said that all matters connected with her time with the firm had been thoroughly reviewed, to which she complained of racial discrimination.
The judge concluded that Shoosmiths and Boss had established this particular claim had no reasonable prospect of success. Boss’ rejection of her request had nothing to do with race but everything to do with her pursuing three-year-old matters after several failed attempts.
The judge said Shoosmiths’ response had been ‘measured’. The firm had acknowledged Sule’s right to have proper allegations of discrimination heard and determined, and pointed out the matter had been reviewed now by two previous tribunals, an employment appeal tribunal and the SRA. Throughout this process, Shoosmiths had neither suggested the claimant was vexatious nor pursued her for costs.