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Scotsman called "sweaty sock" and "caber tosser" by english colleagues brings race discrimination claim

17 November 2011 #Employment

Scottish Slaughterman, Mark Lynch, is suing his former employers for racial discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal after bullying allegedly forced him to quit his job.

Mr Lynch alleges that throughout his seven years employment he was subjected to variety of insults from colleagues regarding his nationality, including: calling him “Jock”, “Scotty” and  “Sweaty Sock”; telling him the Scottish were only good for “tossing the caber and curling”; and saying that in soap operas the wife beaters and murderers were always Scottish. He also claims that he was threatened with violence and had his equipment tampered with.

Under the Equality Act 2010 employers can be held vicariously liable for discriminatory acts of their employees committed in the course of the discriminators employment, whether these are within the employers knowledge or not. This is subject to a “reasonable steps” defence, whereby if the employer had taken such reasonable steps as were reasonably practicable to prevent the discriminator from doing that act the employer will not be liable.

Reasonable steps is not defined, and will vary from case to case. However an essential element to is to demonstrate that there is an up-to-date equal opportunities policy in operation. However it will not be sufficient to simply produce a copy of a policy that exists only on paper. The policy must be well publicised and enforced and disciplinary action taken against employees who are found to breach it.

For more information on racial discrimination, including vicarious liability, Buddy members can access the Guidance Note here. Buddy also has a template equal opportunities policy and guidance notes.

The Clarkslegal employment team provide training to businesses on equal opportunities which is interactive and informative. Please call the team for further information.

For more information on this story, please click here.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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