Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the first of our series of posts on ‘archived cases’, we take a look at the case of Griffin v Hyder Brothers Ltd ET/2406224/2011. In this case the Employment Tribunal held that employees spoke languages an employee could not understand (such as Punjabi and Urdu) in his presence did not constitute race-related harassment.

The facts in Griffin v Hyder Brothers Ltd

Mr Griffin worked as a supervisor at a petrol station, which was taken over by Hyder Brothers Ltd (run by a Mr Hyder) in June 2010. In the months after June 2010 Mr Griffin experienced a number of issues with his new employer, among them:

  • That he believed he was being isolated and “sidelined” by Mr Hyder, with his belief that Mr Hyder wished to bring in a person named Ahmed to replace him
  • That he believed he was being deliberately excluded when colleagues spoke Punjabi or Urbu (languages he did not understand) in his presence in the workplace

Mr Griffin subsequently brought (among others) claims for direct race discrimination and race-related harassment, arguing that the use of languages other than English in his presence constituted race-related harassment.

The Employment Tribunal’s decision

The Employment Tribunal dismissed Mr Griffin’s claims, holding that the use of languages that Mr Griffin could not understand in his presence did not constitute direct race discrimination or race-related harassment:

  • Direct race discrimination: the Tribunal held that conversations in a language used to marginalize Mr Griffin could potentially be prohibited conduct under section 39(2) of the Equality Act 2010, but also held that the use of languages other than English was not intended to upset him or exclude him; the use of their first language was simply for the respective colleagues’ ease and convenience. The Tribunal held that there was therefore no detriment to Mr Griffin. Further, the Tribunal held that Mr Griffin had not been treated less favourably than his colleagues – the Tribunal held that individuals who spoke in their first language in front of Mr Griffin would have treated a colleague who was not of Mr Griffin’s race and/or nationality in the same way.
  • Race-related harassment: the Tribunal held that, in speaking their first language, his colleagues did not have the intention of violating Mr Griffin’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him. Further, the Tribunal held that the conduct of Mr Griffin’s colleagues could not reasonably be said to have created such an environment for him

Our solicitors’ comments

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case is welcome news for employers, as it shows that the occasional (and natural) use of a shared first language that is not English by colleagues in the presence of English-speaking employees is unlikely to amount to discrimination.”

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.67 Average

66 Reviews

Anonymous

As with All solicitors advice without consequence but understood and communicated my legal position

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Prompt, professional and excellent service.

Posted 1 week ago

Dominic C

Excellent service, prompt and helpful

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Redman’s to be very efficient and got me the best deal available in the short time scale that was available.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Victor L

Very professional. Provided excellent advice on my Settlement agreement.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Professional from start to finish.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Oliver W

Excellent service provided by Redmans, will certainly consider using again.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Melanie H

Very professional and extremely personable service. Thank you very much.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

I found Chris to be very approachable and easy to speak with about complex matters. He took action quickly and his updates to me, as his client, were prompt. I would recommend Chris and the team at Redmans without hesitation.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Good advice

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Overall happy with the service provided by Chris and Rana.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Chris and Rana provide a great service, very informed, diligent and care about your result, would recommend Redmans

Posted 4 weeks ago

David W

A speedy efficient friendly service, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors for processing Settlement Agreements.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Anonymous

Both Rana and Chris were fantastic. From the first phone call I was confident my matter was in good hands. I was not disappointed. I would highly recommend Redmans. Thank you again for all of your support and advice.

Posted 1 month ago

Federico S

Great advices and communication. Through Redmana I obtained match more than what I thought. Highly recommended

Posted 1 month ago

Tom G

A good and efficient service with the required legal advice provided for a settlement agreement.

Posted 1 month ago

Francis T

The solicitor I used was Chris Hadrill, who I found extremely professional and I felt that he made me feel at ease, considering the subject matter he was assisting me with.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Chris provided excellent assistance with the negotiation of my settlement agreement. From start to finish, I was consitently updated and advised on the best course of action to take. I would highly recommend Chris and Redmans Solicitors.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

They are busy people but manage well so generally I would recommend them.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Very efficient and professional service from my first phone call making an enquiry. Timescales of the matter in hand were met and within the agreed budget. Would highly recommend Redmans

Posted 1 month ago

Lisa B

Really very good service, always available to answer questions, provide my with any information I needed to make informed decisions.

Posted 1 month ago