Bristol academy workers wins race discrimination Employment Tribunal claim

MoJA former academy worker has been awarded a four-figure sum by the Employment Tribunal after it was found that he had been discriminated against by his former employer.

Mr David McLeod, 38, worked for the City Academy in Bristol as a support teacher to help boost the grades of students from an ethnic minority background. However, after he lost his job in 2013 he made a claim to the Employment Tribunal, contending that he had been subjected to discrimination by the academy on allegations that they had consistently promoted white staff members over black staff members.

Mr McLeod’s claim came to the Employment Tribunal last month, with the former City Academy worker giving evidence to an Employment Tribunal panel. Mr McLeod gave evidence that he had worked at the academy for a considerable period of time but that when a senior position related to his duties became available a white female colleague with no experience in his field was promoted to a position which was more senior and more highly-paid than his. Mr McLeod further pointed to two other occasions on which less-experienced white colleagues were promoted to senior positions over black staff members. The Tribunal also heard evidence that Mr McLeod’s line manager had described Mr McLeod as “vulnerable”.

The Employment Tribunal ruled that Mr McLeod had been subjected to unlawful harassment related to his race and that he had been treated less favourably than white colleagues by management at the City Academy because of his skin colour. The Employment Tribunal awarded Mr McLeod £14,000 for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.

After the Employment Tribunal judgment was released Mr McLeod stated that the claim had “never been about the cash” and had been more to do with the principle of “letting the school know what they were doing was wrong.”

The head of the City Academy commented on the judgment: “We are deeply sorry and extending our sense of sorrow to those involved, particularly David. We’ve learnt from our mistakes and we’re moving forward in terms of setting up an equalities working group.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Mr McLeod was able to win his case for discrimination because he introduced enough facts which could count as inferences of discrimination to put the burden on the City Academy to prove that there was some other reason for his treatment. Employers should ensure that they carry out fair and transparent processes when recruiting or promoting staff, otherwise they may find that they are slapped with an Employment Tribunal claim.”