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Health Advisor wins race discrimination claim after waiting 3 months for written interview feedback

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead Burton

In the case of Mr I Sodola v London Ambulance Service NHS Trust Mr I Sodola joined London Ambulance as a Health Advisor/Pathway trainer in January 2013 and describes himself as a black African man. His claim of race discrimination was based on his employer not appointing him to a Team Manager post after his interview in May 2020 and delaying providing him with written feedback on his performance at interview until August 2020.

Mr Sodola had applied about 5 times previously for the role of Team Manager. His application in April 2020 was the fourth time he had applied and been rejected. He claimed that he later found out that those who had obtained the role were less qualified than him and had less experience. The successful candidates were all white British.

The London South Tribunal said the London Ambulance Service had feedback on Mr I Sodola’s interview performance since the day of the interview on 26 May 2020 and, despite Sodola’s obvious “concern” about receiving it, they delayed giving written feedback until 23 August 2020.

The written feedback that was eventually supplied was “of minimal value, as it simply repeated the initial verbal feedback”, the tribunal said, and it concluded that the delay in providing feedback amounted to less favourable treatment on the grounds of his race.

Employment judge Braganza KC said that, according to the evidence and the fact that four of the seven candidates applying for the team manager role received higher rankings than Sodola, he had suffered a “detriment” by not being hired for the position.

He added that in the absence of an explanation from London Ambulance Service, there was a “prima facie” case that Sodola was treated “less favourably” by not being hired for the team manager position, which means the burden of proof shifts to the respondent.

However, the tribunal dismissed the race discrimination claim on the decision not to appoint Sodola to the team manager role.

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