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A former King’s College hospital NHS foundation trust manager has been awarded £1 million after the London South Employment Tribunal found he was unfairly dismissed and was subject to less favourable treatment due to his race.
Richard Hastings had worked for the hospital for 19 years before the dismissal occurred resulting in not only career detriment but also detriment to his health, leaving him “completely broken”.
The issue first arose on the 29 July 2015 as he was driving into the car park of the hospital, where a van sped aggressively past him. Upon approaching the van with three males inside, the driver Mr Archard, became abusive and derogatory towards Mr Hastings.
It did result in a “war of words”, where both parties swore, however Mr Hastings said the contractor had said to him “careful it doesn’t come off”, which he took to be a reference to his skin colour.
When Mr Hastings tried to make a note of the van’s registration plate, he was asked by the driver of the van, what his name was and then proceeded to say “that’s not your real name”, as if Mr Hastings could not have an English sounding name. Mr Hastings was further asked if he was a manager at the hospital, and when he confirmed he was, he again was insulted by the driver who said, “They’ll let anything happen here”. He again perceived this to be racially motivated.
The altercation did get physical at one point, where Mr Archard placed his hand on the NHS worker’s arm, and believing it could become violent, Mr Hasting “lifted his arm to extricate himself”, and in doing so made contact with the van driver’s face.
As a member of staff, Mr Hastings had called the hospital security for help with the altercation; unfortunately no-one came to his aid.
It was in October 2015 when Mr Hastings was dismissed for gross misconduct. The Tribunal found that the investigatory manager had “interrogated” Mr Hastings and the notes recorded from the meeting showed that a closed line of questioning had been used. It was established they had treated him differently because of his colour and didn’t reflect the findings in a neutral manner, painting Mr Hastings as the aggressor.
The Tribunal concluded there was “unconscious bias” against Mr Hasting which was linked to his race, and as such both his claim for the unfair dismissal and discrimination succeeded.
Personnel recommend two tips on dealing with situations such as the above.
The first is that no assumptions or accusations should ever be made about wrongdoing and the disciplinary manager should be completely impartial to the matter when investigating it.
The second tip is that the report that is subsequently produced should be fair, neutral and balanced on behalf of the parties involved.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals. Please contact our Employment Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.