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Giving false reason for dismissing black employee justified inferring race discrimination

Makbool Javaid
speaking

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

This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and help judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information.  Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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