Saturday, 18 March 2017

UK Black Groups Launch Unprecedented Legal Action Against Racism in the Workplace

On the day of a national UK march against racism and in an unprecedented legal challenge, a number of high profile, national British African, Caribbean and Asian organisations have just filed a historic legal precedent in the Supreme Court to protect the employment rights of Black, Asian and minority ethnic professionals such as police officers, doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, solicitors, barristers, judges and magistrates.  

Over 100,000 BME professionals may be affected by the ruling.

In a historic case due to be heard before the UK Supreme Court on 4th May, the Metropolitan Police  Service are fighting to prevent an police officer, challenging her dismissal, by claiming that police disciplinary tribunals are protected by Judicial immunity. 

Police Misconduct tribunals are chaired by a lawyer appointed according to judicial appointment criteria. A decision by the Supreme Court is expected in September.

In addition, the UK Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is relying on the same argument, to argue that the three British Judges, currently suing the MOJ for race, sex discrimination and victimization, cannot bring their cases against the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) and that every decision taken by nominated Judges investigating misconduct is exempt from the Equality Act.  

D Peter Herbert O.B.E., former Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, a Crown Court Recorder, and Immigration Judge, comments as Chair of Society of Black Lawyers,  

“This Amicus Curiae brief is a historic legal application summarising the institutional racism faced by BME professionals in a range of professional organisations including the police, medical, and legal profession. The action by the Metropolitan Police Service, supported by the Ministry of Justice would seek to restrict the principle of equality before the law and access to justice, undermining the Lawrence Inquiry recommendations in the process. The Supreme Court has to carefully examine the wider socio-economic consequences of their ruling in the case of P.” 
Ismet Rawat, President, of the Association of Muslim Lawyers said, 

“If the Supreme Court decides to extend Judicial Immunity to disciplinary tribunals within the police force there is a reasonable likelihood that it will seriously undermine the ability of many BME professionals to challenge discrimination of all forms. This will be a retrograde step at a time of increasing racism generally, Islamophobia in particular and sexism in post-Brexit UK and the post-Trump world.  

It is somewhat ironic that the highest court of the land, which is now aware of the absence of diversity in the Judiciary must itself decide on a case that goes to the heart of who is truly able to enjoy equality before the law.  BME organisations will be watching with interest.” 

Lee Jasper, Co Chair of BARAC UK and former Policing Director for London and former Equalities lead for the London Criminal Justice Board (2000-2008) said,  
This case marks the beginning of a post Brexit legal civil rights strategy that a number of national black organizations are actively considering one of whose important aims is to substantially reduce racism in the workplace. Black professionals are catching hell in the workplace and for some who suffer racism, equality law as its currently stands offers them little to no protection.  

Black professionals are important and serve as role models for a black community suffering close to 50% youth unemployment. When our young people see that Black professionals suffer unfair race discrimination, they become disenchanted, angry and alienated from society.   

If post Brexit anti discriminatory laws are now to determined here in the UK, then we say that our aim should be no less than to substantively reduce race discrimination in the workplace in a matter of years, not decades.  

We find in our experience, that wherever 'discretion' is allowed in employment grievance and disciplinary processes, there you will find discrimination. With Black graduate unemployment rising remorselessly now's the time to act. We want to establish the primacy of UK equalities legislation in all aspect of employment law, particularly the area of work place race complaints.”   

Viv Ahmun of the social movement Blaksox stated,  

“This is not some theoretical legal case restricted to so called BME professionals but will affect the aspirations and lives of all BME communities for generations to come. Our role models and professional leaders are crucially important to lift our whole community. It is pointless for the Government to back the review into the disproportionate BME prison population being conducted by David Lammy M.P. on the one hand whilst with the other it seeks to remove equality for those that seek to break through the racial barriers within British society.”

Simon Wooley, the Director of Operation Black Vote commented, 
“We must keep up the fight: This landmark case strikes at everything we care about; justice, equality and accountability. Any backsliding undermines all three, and in effect tells Black communities that we care little for your hard won civil rights. 

At a time when Parliament itself is failing to represent the diversity of BME communities and only 22% of race and religious discrimination cases are successful in the Employment 
Tribunal it is a disgrace that the Metropolitan Police and Justice 
Department are seeking to restrict that further by hiding behind 
Judicial immunity.”
This action is also supported by: 

For further information please contact: -;; 

D Peter Herbert O.B.E. :  07973 794 946 
Viv Ahmun : Blaksox: 07985 395 166; 
Lee Jasper : 07984 181797; 

Ismet Rawat : 07852 146056