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Sean Carty on Racial Discrimination in the Police

Employment Solicitor Sean Carty offers his thoughts after a Metropolitan Police officer was awarded £37,000 by an Employment Tribunal which found she had been “bullied and victimised” for being black.

Carol Howard, a Police Constable has been awarded £37,000 after taking her employer, the Metropolitan Police to an Employment Tribunal. In its verdict, the Tribunal found that PC Howard had been “bullied and victimised” by her boss, because she was black.

The tribunal also went further in its condemnation of officers from Scotland Yard, saying that they had been “malicious and vindictive” and that they had “singled out and targeted” PC Howard since she had made her complaint. The Metropolitan Police were also told to review all internal complaints of discrimination that had been made by Police officers and other staff in the last 5 years.

PC Howard, one of only 2 black police officers in the Metropolitan Police’s 700 strong Diplomatic Protection Group first came to public attention in 2012 when she was chosen to represent the police as part of a poster campaign for the London Olympics. However, despite being one of the faces of policing in London, at work she was subject to sexual and racial discrimination.

When she complained to her superiors about the discrimination she was being subjected to, PC Howard found herself arrested on no fewer than three occasions in relation to a series of allegations. The Tribunal found that details of these arrests were released as part of a strategy attempt to deflect negative publicity surrounding the case.

The tribunal judges said: "The respondent had received a lot of negative publicity and had been heavily criticised in the media as a result of the tribunal's judgment in favour of the claimant. We have no doubt that the second statement was issued to deflect attention and criticism from the respondent and to portray the claimant in a negative light."

Advice for Employees facing discrimination at work

Here at Canter Levin & Berg Solicitors, we understand that unlawful discrimination is the most serious, and also one of the most complex areas of employment law. Sean Carty, one of the Employment Solicitors in our Liverpool City Centre offices offered his own thoughts on PC Howard’s case and on discrimination in general, saying:

"It is an employee’s statutory right not to be discriminated against by their employer. This case is a perfect example that despite the size, strength and resources available to an employer they are not above the law. PC Howard's treatment at the hands of her superiors within the Police was completely unacceptable."

"Despite my having dealt with many claims for workplace discrimination over the years I was nonetheless shocked to hear about the attitudes of the Metropolitan Police officers involved in this case, especially given the number of high-profile investigations into racism and discrimination within the force over the past 20 years. I would always advise people who are facing any kind of discrimination due to their race, or on the basis of any of the protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010 to seek independent legal advice at the earliest opportunity."

If you’re experiencing discrimination at work on the basis of your gender or your race, our expert Employment Solicitors can provide advice on how to bring this discrimination to your employer’s attention. We can also outline the legal options available to you if you are not satisfied that your employer has taken your complaint seriously, or if you feel they have not tackled the problem.

For a free initial 10 minute consultation with an Employment Solicitor to discuss discrimination in the workplace, call our help line now on 0151 239 1000 or submit an enquiry through our website and a member of our Employment Law team will call you back.

By Sean Carty