Man Who Brought 40+ Vexatious Claims Against Different Employers Banned From ET (Mr D Taheri (Using the Alias J Davidson) v Nuestra Familia Restaurants Ltd – 2402775/2023)

In the case of Mr D Taheri v Nuestra Familia Restaurants Ltd, costs were awarded against Mr D Taheri for behaving vexatiously and unreasonably in bringing a claim for disability discrimination which had no valid basis.

The Facts in Mr D Taheri v Nuestra Familia Restaurants Ltd

Nuestra Familia Restaurants Ltd (“the Respondent”) operates several McDonald’s restaurants under a franchise arrangement.  In November 2021, Mr D Taheri (“the Claimant”) applied for a job with the Respondent and at the interview, he disclosed that he had prostate cancer.

While he was unsuccessful in getting offered the job, it was not due to cancer but due to his behaviour at the interview. He told the interviewer to “shush” twice, whilst he turned off his two mobile phones, and asked for free food. Although the Claimant went through ACAS Early Conciliation (EC) on 8 December 2021, he did not bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal.

Following a hearing on 3 February 2022, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) declared the Claimant a vexatious litigant and was made the subject of a “Restriction of Proceedings Order” (RPO).  This meant he would require permission from the EAT to institute further proceedings in the ET.

The ET noted that he had pursued over 40 claims since 2012, often involving allegations of disability discrimination based on him suffering from prostate cancer.  The EAT judgment outlined a history of cases filed by the Claimant which he then withdrew before the merit’s hearings.

The EAT found a pattern of behaviour where the Claimant had begun proceedings seeking substantial large amounts of money alleging acts of discrimination. This was a way of getting money from potential employers, and then withdrawing the claim when the Respondent would not offer a settlement agreement.

On 10 January 2023, the Claimant applied for a job as a full-time crew member at the Respondent’s restaurant in Rawtenstall. He gave his address as 59 Queensway and a mobile number ending in 1947. The interview involved the Claimant and a chat function operated by Mcdonald’s “McHire” website via an online chatbot function.

The Claimant had said he had been rejected before because of his age and disability.  However, the chatbot informed him his application would be taken forward. He was then asked if assistance would be needed, such as reasonable adjustments, during the recruitment procedure and he stated he had cancer. This confused the chatbot who stated there were no cancer positions available at Rossendale.

This annoyed the Claimant who stated cancer was a disability, not a position and threatened to take McDonalds to an Employment Tribunal. He responded by stating that “they are the worst company in the world with their junk food”. He claimed he had not completed an assessment or been offered an interview, but his friend James Davidson has an interview, then claimed “I have applied under an alias so I now have all the evidence for litigation….litigation will commence and I am contacting BBC Watchdog and the Equalities Commission.”

It was also noted that someone calling themselves James Davidson commenced exchanges with the chatbot around 25 minutes after the call with Mr Taheri. An interview was scheduled, following an assessment and the candidate was asked to bring identification. The person using the name of James Davidson made no reference to having a disability. The Claimant then sent a series of messages saying he was the applicant, not James Davidson.

On 11 January 2023, the Respondent changed the James Davidson application from interview scheduled to candidate falsification.

The Decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal found that the Claimant, David Taheri was in truth the Claimant and not James Davidson, thus the order was amended.

The tribunal in their conclusions decided that the Claimant had only applied for the role to manufacture a rejection that could then be used as a device to bring a complaint of discrimination. According to the Employment Tribunal, they were brought with the aim of “extracting a “nuisance” settlement from the Respondent”.

They felt that his case was vexatious and unreasonable as it resulted in the Respondent racking up legal costs which it should not have had to. The job application should never have been made by the Claimant.

Hence, the Claim was a nullity as it breached the RPO made pursuant to section 33 of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 by the EAT in a judgment dated 25 February 2022. The Claimant acted vexatiously and unreasonably in pursuing an application for employment with the Respondent in 2023 and in bringing the above proceedings. The Claimant was ordered to pay the costs of the Respondent in the amount of £4,136.00.

Our Lawyers View

Steve Norton says: “The actions of the Claimant, in this case, were clearly an attempt to manufacture a claim and an attempt to invent a false applicant in order to get around the RPO. However, they were serious enough to result in the fairly rare feat of being subject to paying the costs of the other side for vexatious and unreasonable conduct in an Employment Tribunal.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal can be found here