Religious Belief Harassment: Managers offensive comments about Muslims results in almost £7,000 in awards to employee

Understanding the importance of equality and diversity before it is too late.

The claimant who was an employee of Royal Borough of Greenwich, Ms Aboulossoud (the claimant) was of mixed heritage and a number of her direct family members including her father where part of the Muslim community.

During a meeting in January 2016 a discussion arose in relation to another crematorium in the surrounding areas and its Islamic section. When discussing this a member of management stated “Do they [management] really think that the residents of Bromley would want to be buried next to a Muslim? No offence to the Muslim community but that’s what they do, they move in and take over.”

Following the meeting the claimant submitted a formal complaint regarding the manager in question and the comments she had made in relation to Muslims and a grievance process was completed. The outcome of the grievance process was that Ms Aboulossoud’s complaint was partly held, it was concluded that the manager had made the inappropriate comments/statements but added that they were not directed at the claimant. As a result, the manager was instructed to apologise to the claimant and was required to attend equality and diversity training.

The claimant appealed the decision and was subsequently informed the original decision was upheld.

At Employment Tribunal it was held that the comments made by the manager constituted “harassment” under the Equality Act 2010 and additional in the failings of the respondent’s ability to deal with the claimant’s grievances accordingly added to the harassment.

The ET awarded the claimant £6,000 and £846 in interest. In relation to injuries to feelings following the managements conduct.

This case reminds employers of the importance of an equality and diversity policy which is successfully implemented within the working environment to avoid such issues at discussed here. Does your business need assistance and support in relation to implementing a successful equality and diversity policy contact our qualified team today on 0844 327 2293.

Read full case details and judge of Abouloussoud vs Royal Borough Council here

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