Ex-Group Facilities Manager Subjected to Racist Comments and Discrimination Wins Claim (Mr A I Malik v AI-Mubarakia Ltd)

In the case of Mr A I Malik v AI-Mubarakia Ltd, an ex-Group Facilities Manager is successful in his claim for unfair dismissal, direct race discrimination and racial harassment.

The Facts in Mr A I Malik v AI-Mubarakia Ltd

Mr A I Malik (the “Claimant”) commenced employment with AI-Mubarakia Limited (the “Respondent”) on 20 May 2016. He initially joined as Group Mechanical and Electrical Engineer and was then promoted to Group Facilities Manager on 9 October 2017.

The Claimant was a British citizen of Pakistani ethnic origin. The Respondent is part of the FMH group of companies that invests in and manages a global portfolio of real estate, mainly in Kuwait, the UAE, the UK, Spain and Asia.

Part of the Claimant’s job as Group Facilities Manager was to identify work that was needed at various properties, they were responsible for, and obtain quotes. If the work was considered to be of low value (£500-£1,000), the Claimant was authorised to pay for it on the company credit card, to be approved by his line manager, Mr Farah. For works of larger value, he had to go to the project team and obtain the approval of Madam Al Hassawi, the founder of the FMH Group who had major day-to-day control and authority over the group of companies and their employees.

The Claimant argues that during the course of his employment he:

  • was subject to direct race discrimination;
  • was subject to harassment related to his race; and
  • was unfairly dismissed.

On 23 June 2020, Madame Al-Hassawi held a meeting with Mr Farah, and another member of staff Ms Khan but the Claimant was not at the meeting. At the meeting, Madam Al-Hassawi questioned the competence of the Claimant and used extremely offensive terms to describe him. She referred to the Claimant as a moron, a jerk, an idiot, scum, low-life, uneducated, a dog, and the son of 16 donkeys. At one point, she said that the Claimant should be thankful that she did not hit him with her shoe.

In the transcript of the meeting, Madam Al-Hassawi when referring to the Claimant says;

“He’s ignorant, and my money is going down the drain with him. The sewerage where poop goes! This is where my money is going with him. Don’t defend him!”

 “I don’t leave anyone behind. And if I think that someone is incompetent, I will fire him before I leave and now I know who gets to stay and who gets to leave.”

The Claimant was informed by the Respondent solicitors, on 25 June 2020, that he was at risk of redundancy and was invited to a Zoom meeting. The Respondent had already removed the Claimant from the staff WhatsApp groups and was informed by some of the staff that they had heard he had been dismissed. The Claimant was also asked to return his company van to the Respondent by 28 June 2020.

The Claimant attended the Zoom meeting with Ms Linford attending on behalf of Weightmans, on 30 June 2020. He was given the impression the meeting was a first consultation meeting but also a protected conversation under section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 96).  Ms Linford made an offer of settlement on behalf of the Respondent.  The Claimant was not given any specified time limit and was asked if he was inclined to accept the offer subject to legal advice and “some time to think”. The Claimant stated that he believed this was unfair dismissal and would take the Respondent to a tribunal.

On 3 July 2020, there was a second meeting which was described as a consultation meeting. The invitation letter wrongly described the Claimant’s job title as “Group Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer”.

The Claimant then submitted a grievance, on 5 July 2020, giving detailed reasons why he thought his redundancy was a sham.  He provided a copy of the recording of the meeting on 23 June 2020.

On or about 6 July 2020, Madame Al-Hassawi said words to the following effect to Ms Khan (also of Pakistani origin) and another employee, “I hate these crook Pakistanis like Malik, I would not have hired him if I knew he was Pakistani.” Madame Al-Hassawi denied these allegations by relying on the diverse nature of the workplace plus her close relationship with Ms Khan and other Pakistani employees.

Tenants of the Respondent were advised, on 8 July 2020, that the Claimant no longer worked for the Respondent. There was a meeting the same day at which the Claimant was not present but during which Madame Al-Hassawi screamed “stupid Malik” on hearing the Claimant’s name.

On 13 July 2020, the Claimant was invited to a further meeting he believed was a consultation meeting and investigation of his grievance. On 21 July 2020, the Claimant attended a meeting where he was informed that his grievance was not upheld. He was being dismissed by reason of redundancy because of the Covid-19 pandemic his work was now being carried out by other employees. The Claimant’s dismissal was confirmed as being due to the impact of Covid 19 on cash flow and the need to cut staffing costs.

On 28 July 2020, the Claimant appealed against his dismissal. He cited derogatory comments made by Madame Al-Hassawi on 8 July 2020 as part of his appeal.  On 7 August 2020, the Claimant was informed that his appeal was not upheld.

The Decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal found in favour of the claimant in their claim of unfair dismissal, direct race discrimination, and harassment related to race.

Unfair dismissal

The decision to dismiss the Claimant was taken on 23 June 2020, thus the redundancy consultation was a sham.  The Tribunal decided that the use of the incorrect job title “Group Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer” which was the actual job being removed, rather than the Claimant’s correct job title “Group Facilities Manager”, meant that there had been no meaningful consideration of the work done by the Claimant, before being informed his job was at risk. The tribunal found that this was not a genuine redundancy situation and not the real reason for dismissal. The Respondent had also attempted to throw in arguments around capability as a fair reason for dismissal, which was seen through by the tribunal which found no issues of the Claimant ever having faced capability concerns.

Direct discrimination because of race

The tribunal also found as a fact that on 6 July 2020, Madame Al-Hassawi did make the comment “I hate these crook Pakistanis like Malik; I would not have hired him if I knew he was Pakistani”. This was seen as linking her belief that he was dishonest, with his race. The Claimant had proved on the facts that his race was material because of his dismissal.


The comments made by Madame Al-Hassawi equating dishonesty and employment with the Claimant’s race made clear her state of mind and opinions about his personality and race.

Our Lawyers View

Steve Norton, lawyer at Redmans, says: This case shows an attempt by an employer to dismiss an employee by using a sham redundancy consultation procedure where the decision to terminate his employment had already been made. The racist views of the founder of the group of companies towards a capable employee were a key factor in her decision to attempt to use a flawed redundancy procedure to dismiss him, which the tribunal saw through when analysing the evidence.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal can be found here