Tribunal Sides With Keoghs LLP in Discrimination Claim After They Withdraw Job Offer Made To a ‘Rude’ Worker

In S Lasdas v Keoghs LLP, the law firm successfully defended itself after a job applicant claimed race discrimination. The legal proceedings occurred following a job offer being withdrawn due to the applicant’s rudeness in an onboarding meeting. Below, we examine the events that caused the withdrawal and subsequent claim before discussing the employment tribunal’s judgment.

If you believe you have faced any form of workplace discrimination, please don’t hesitate to contact us now. Redmans Solicitors have years of experience, making us specialists in the employment law sector. Following a quick chat to uncover your eligibility, we can advise you on your possible next steps.

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The Facts in S Lasdas v Keoghs LLP

Background – Law Firm Makes Provisional Offer

On 10 February 2022, Keoghs LLP (“The Respondent”) received the CV of Mr S Lasdas (“The Claimant”), a Greek national, from a recruitment agency. The CV was submitted for a fixed-term IT role beginning on 2 March and finishing in June. Four days later, Mr Lasdas was shortlisted, and on 15 February, he underwent an interview.

The law firm then extended him a provisional job offer the following day. The offer explicitly outlined the necessity of acquiring identification documents to authenticate his right to work in the UK. This entailed providing specific pages from his passport along with two documents dated within the preceding three months as proof of address.

Subsequently, Mr Lasdas provided Keoghs LLP with a code enabling access to proof of his right to work. Additionally, he presented two bank statements along with photographs of his passport and its cover page.

Onboarding Meeting Doesn’t go as Planned

On 17 February 2022, Ms Liza Hill, the respondent’s talent acquisition business partner, hosted an online onboarding meeting. This was arranged to enable identification checks and discuss working methods and equipment before the applicant began his role.

During the meeting, Ms Hill requested additional images of Mr Lasdas’ passport. One of the previously provided images was out of focus, and certain necessary pages were omitted. However, Mr Lasdas expressed reluctance to provide the signature page, citing concerns over fraud. Furthermore, he felt furnishing further information was unnecessary as he had already provided a code validating his right to work.

Although Ms Hill reassured him that her requests were both a legal requirement and a standard policy at Keoghs LLP, Mr Lasdas became unhappy. She observed that he appeared “agitated and at this point was being rude”.

Mr Lasdas then requested that his personal laptop be utilised to fulfil tax requirements with HMRC as a contractor. Nevertheless, the law firm declined this request, citing their policy of utilising company laptops, a practice adhered to by other contractors who met the tax requirements. Once more, the applicant was unhappy with this decision and, as reported by Ms Hill, continued being rude and condescending.

Keoghs LLP Recind Their Offer

Consequently, the job offer was withdrawn. This transpired after Ms Hill noted that the hiring manager deemed Mr Lasdas’s behaviour inappropriate and inconsistent with the company’s values. The decision was finalised on 17 February, coinciding with the onboarding meeting, and was conveyed to the applicant the following day.

As a result, Mr Lasdas initiated employment tribunal proceedings against Keoghs LLP. He contended that the law firm’s insistence on proof of his right to work in the UK was unjustified. As a Greek national, he asserted that this demand was the main factor behind the withdrawal of his job offer, giving rise to allegations of race discrimination and workplace victimisation.

The Employment Tribunal’s Judgment

The tribunal began by discussing Mr Lasdas’ behaviour during proceedings. They highlighted his repeated interruptions, which necessitated cautioning and muting him several times to ensure a fair trial could proceed.

Ms Hill asserted that his behaviour reflected his conduct during their meeting. While the tribunal acknowledged Mr Lasdas’ demeanour as potentially domineering, they emphasised the significance of recognising that he was representing himself and evidently felt strongly about his claim.

Moreover, they explained that Ms Hill’s requests for identification and proof of his right to work were merely in accordance with Keoghs LLP’s policy. Conversely, Mr Lasdas appeared well-informed about such requirements, demonstrating superior knowledge of how he could fulfil them.

However, the tribunal didn’t believe the reason his application was withdrawn had anything to do with his Greek nationality. From the evidence provided, it was clear Mr Lasdas had been rude and behaved in a way that didn’t align with the company’s values. These values included that individuals at Keoghs LLP listen, work together, and are friendly.

As such, the tribunal determined that the job offer was withdrawn because of the applicant’s unsavoury conduct. This meant his claims of race discrimination and victimisation were dismissed.

Claim with Redmans

Despite the claim involving Keoghs LLP proving unsuccessful, others may have unfortunately experienced workplace discrimination. If this is the case for you and you don’t know how to proceed, contact Redmans Solicitors today. We are employment law specialists and could help you find the resolution you seek.

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