Race Discrimination

Race Discrimination Case

Race Discrimination Case

Dilibe v Woodhaze – Employment Tribunal issues ruling on race discrimination case

On 23 May 2023, the Employment Tribunal issued its liability judgment in the case of Dilibe v Woodhaze Limited t/a Window to the Womb (Swansea) and others. This was a case concerning particularly disturbing instances of race discrimination suffered by the Claimant, who was a Nigerian woman.

The Claimant was a qualified sonographer working for Woodhaze, which is a business providing private scans for pregnant women. The claim concerned various allegations of unlawful conduct, including harassment, direct race discrimination and victimisation in breach of the Equality Act 2010, which led to her resigning in December 2021. The Claimant did not have the required minimum of two years’ service to bring a constructive unfair dismissal claim.

The Tribunal upheld a number of the Claimant’s allegations, including that the Respondents had subjected her to harassment and direct race discrimination in breach of the Equality Act 2010. This included findings that the Respondents had made the Claimant carry out cleaning duties, despite her status as a sonographer, and threatened to dismiss her and end her immigration sponsorship if she did not undertake the cleaning duties. 

The Respondents also raised unfounded concerns about the Claimant’s performance, her having a bad attitude and her body odour. The Respondents were also found to have subjected the Claimant to unreasonable working patterns, for example making her work thirteen days in a row. 

On 26 January 2024 the Tribunal issued its further judgment regarding compensation. The Tribunal ordered the Respondents to pay the Claimant £28,915.08, as compensation for the upheld discrimination claims and for other losses related to unlawful deduction from wages and unpaid annual leave. The compensation for the discrimination and harassment claims included £20,000 for injury to feelings, which places it in the middle band of the Vento Guidelines used for calculating injury to feelings. The Vento guidelines state that the middle band is for serious cases which do not merit an award in the highest band. 

The case became widely publicised in March 2024 because it coincided with revelations that a Conservative Party donor Frank Hester had made racist remarks about MP Diane Abbott. Mr Hester’s remarks included that Ms Abbott made him “want to hate all black women”. Both the Tribunal case and the news story regarding Mr Hester’s comments serve as troubling reminders of the racism which Black and ethnic minority (BME) individuals continue to face in their places of work. 

A TUC report, based on polling from 2022, found that two in five BME workers said they had experienced racism at work in the preceding five years. This indicates that racism is still very much a prevalent scourge in the workplace. 

This blog was written by Yavnik Ganguly, solicitor at didlaw