Receptionist makes racial harassment claim in Employment Tribunal after being called “black slave”

MoJA receptionist at a prestigious embassy in London has alleged in a legal claim that he was called a “black slave” and physically abused by senior officials while he worked there.

Mohamoud Ahmed, 73, brought his claims for race discrimination, age discrimination, unfair dismissal, and wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal after he was dismissed last year after having worked for the Qatari Embassy as a receptionist and security guard for over twenty years.

Mr Ahmed claimed that he had been subjected to the following racial abuse and harassment by the head of the Qatari embassy’s medical department, Abdullah Al-Ansari:

  • That he was referred to as a “donkey” and a “dog” in Arabic
  • That he had been called other demeaning names in Arabic, including “Abd”, which can mean “black slave”
  • That he had been assaulted on two occasions and now suffers severe pain in his left shoulder – an injury which may require surgery

The claim has apparently been stayed whilst the Court of Appeal determines whether embassies can claim diplomatic immunity for breaching the legal rights of employees and workers, such as discriminating against them or harassing them.

A spokesman for the Qatari embassy stated: “Mr Ahmed’s allegations are utterly untrue. He was at no time ill-treated, abused or discriminated against by anyone at or representing the embassy. It is certainly not true that Mr Ahmed was discriminated against because of his colour. His son and other members of his family continue to be employed at the embassy, together with a large number of other people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds.”

Mr Ahmed’s lawyer also stated: “I do think it wrong that people employed in a foreign embassy in this country do not have the same legal protections that other employees have.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “It is unlawful to treat anyone detrimentally or to harass them because of their nationality, ethnicity, or skin colour, and any conduct exhibiting such behaviour may result in a potentially expensive and time-consuming Employment Tribunal case.”

The hearing at the Central London Employment Tribunal will take place at a later date, pending the outcome of the Court of Appeal cases.