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Cordant Security Ltd v Singh UKEAT/0144/15; (2015) EMPLR 066
27 October 2015
Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT)
Lewis J, Baroness Drake of Shene and Mr R J Rivers CBE
because of race, to investigate an employee’s complaint is normally unlawful
race discrimination - it is ‘less favourable treatment’ because of race, and it
is unlawful because it amounts to a ‘detriment’ within s 39(2)(d) of the
Equality Act 2010. That remains so even if the complaint turns out to be
untrue: the failure to investigate may be a detrimental feeling of injustice or
unfairness. But that does not apply if the employee deliberately fabricated the
S was sent
home from work because it was thought he smelt of alcohol. S then complained
that his manager had used racially abusive language towards him. The
disciplinary procedure was used in respect of the allegation that S had been
drinking alcohol but the allegation that the manager had used racially abusive
language was not investigated.
concluded the allegation of racist abuse had been fabricated in response to the
disciplinary investigation into drinking alcohol. The tribunal nevertheless
held that the failure to investigate S’s complaint was unlawful race
discrimination; it did not award compensation because it concluded that the
failure to investigate a fabricated complaint cannot have injured S’s feelings.
The EAT allowed the
employer’s appeal. If there was no injury to feelings, there was no detriment.
Therefore, although the treatment may have been less favourable because of
race, it was not unlawful because there was no detriment.