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Giving false reason for dismissing black employee justified inferring race discrimination

Makbool Javaid

In Base Childrenswear Ltd v Otshudi, O is of black African ethnicity. The Manging Director, G, dismissed O telling her it was for redundancy. After O lodged a race discrimination claim, the employer subsequently admitted that redundancy was not the real reason. G had been made aware by other employees that it seemed to them that O had been attempting to steal clothes. Despite the absence of any investigation, G decided that O was guilty of theft and should be dismissed, but said it was for redundancy to avoid a confrontation. The Court of Appeal upheld the ET’s finding of race discrimination. Persistence in lying about the reason for dismissal was a valid basis for concluding that there was a prima facie case that race was a factor in the dismissal thereby shifting burden of proof to the employer. Giving a wholly untruthful response is well-recognised as the kind of conduct that may indicate that the allegation is well-founded and a belief that clothes had been stolen on so little evidence because of stereotypical prejudice based on O’s race ( a belief that black people are dishonest) supported the ET’s finding.

The updates are kindly provided by Simons Muirhead & Burton Law firm

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