Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In Bakkali v Greater Manchester Buses (South) Limited t/a Stage Coach Manchester UKEAT/0176/17/RN the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) held that a comment made about a Muslim employee supporting Daesh did not, in the context it was made, constitute harassment (as it related to a previous conversation that had been engaged in and not the relevant employee’s religious belief).

The factual background of Bakkali v Greater Manchester Buses (South) Limited t/a Stage Coach Manchester

Mr Bakkali commenced employment on 14 July 2008 and worked as a bus driver; Mr Bakkali identifies as Moroccan and Muslim.

In early October 2015 Mr Bakkali had a conversation with Mr Cotter, a colleague. In this conversation Mr Bakkali informed Mr Cotter about a news report made by a German journalist who went to Syria and spoke to Islamic State (“IS”) fighters; Mr Bakkali quoted some of the article as follows: “… Mosul… was a ‘totalitarian state’ , and that they (IS), are trying to enforce law and order upon its subjects, and that they are confident and proficient fighters…”.

On 19 October 2015 Mr Bakkali and Mr Cotter were sitting in the work canteen. Mr Cotter asked Mr Bakkali “are you still promoting IS/Daesh”. There was then an altercation between Mr Bakkali and Mr Cotter in which Mr Bakkali was described (by a number of people present) as being aggressive.

Mr Cotter subsequently apologised for upsetting Mr Bakkali; Mr Bakkali was subjected to a disciplinary and was summarily dismissed on allegations that he had been threatening and abusive on 19 October 2015.

Mr Bakkali appealed against his dismissal but his appeals were unsuccessful.

Mr Bakkali subsequently made claims to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal, direct race discrimination, race-related harassment, and religious belief harassment.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The Employment Tribunal dismissed Mr Bakkali’s claims. In respect of the claims of harassment (both religious belief and race-related harassment), the Employment Tribunal held that: 1) the incident on 19 October 2015 had, on the evidence, nothing to do with Mr Bakkali’s race; and 2) with regards to Mr Bakkali’s religious belief, the context of the comment on 19 October 2015 related to the previous conversation that Mr Bakkali and Mr Cotter had engaged in about the news report and not Mr Bakkali’s religious belief per se.

Mr Bakkali appealed against the Employment Tribunal’s decision on harassment.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The EAT upheld the Employment Tribunal’s decision, holding:

  1. The Employment Tribunal had not made an error of law in holding that there was no evidence to support the claim of race-related harassment (in relation to the incident on 19 October 2015); and
  2. The Employment Tribunal had not made an error of law in holding that the incident on 19 October 2015 did not relate to Mr Bakkali’s religious belief, as it had found on the facts that it related to the previous conversation (Richmond Pharmacology v Dhaliwal [2009] ICR 724 applied)

Our solicitors’ comments on Bakkali v Greater Manchester Buses (South) Limited t/a Stage Coach Manchester

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case shows that context is key in arguing claims of harassment in the Employment Tribunal – the parties must be careful to ensure that the full facts are laid out before the Employment Tribunal in order to ensure that any comments made are put in the relevant context”.

The transcript of the EAT’s decision in Bakkali v Greater Manchester Buses (South) Limited t/a Stage Coach Manchester can be found here.

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 first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    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

    4.76 Average

    235 Reviews

    Paul O

    Chris & Rana guided me through a redundancy discussion. Prompt & patient assistance with the documents & meetings. Clear advice & fast responses regarding negotiations. Would definitely recommend & would use again without hesitation.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Outstanding, efficient service. Thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jaswant S

    Very very happy with the good service I got Thank you so much for your help

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Mel and Chris were fantastic and supportive throughout! 1000% recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Emma D

    Good responsive service

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mike T

    Good efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Brenda G

    Very professional and helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    Charles A

    Chris Hadrill was recommended to me when I found myself in need of a solicitor at very short notice. He contacted me almost immediately to arrange a call. Chris handled my case in a professional and timely manner and kept me notified throughout. Chris inspired confidence and made me feel I was being cared for. If ever I'm in need of legal representation, I would not hesitate to contact Chris. And will gladly recommend him to family and friends.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rosalind R

    I was very happy with the service that I received from Redmans Solicitors. They were able to advise me accordingly with regards to my employment matter and stay within the agreed costing.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karl B

    Caroline and Chris were so helpful and friendly. Couldn't of asked for a better service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dimitrios P

    Excellent, professional service, in time and within the expected value.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Barbara K

    Everything quickly and fairly. Very professional. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sabrina J

    I received a efficient professional service during the whole process of liasing between myself and my former employer to getting all forms signed and receiving my redundancy payment in full in the summer of this year.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I received legal advice on a redundancy settlement agreement from Redmans Solicitors and was very impressed by the quality of their service. Chris Hadrill is highly experienced in settlement matters and was especially understanding of the particulars of my case, going out of his way to ensure that it was resolved quickly and with the utmost professionalism. I have no hesitation in recommending Redmans to anyone in need of employment advice and settlement resolution.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, with full explanations of everything needed. Both Chris and Mel answered all emails very promptly and were personable and efficient.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I would like to thank Chris Hadrill, in particular who handled my case, for all his hard work, expertise and dedication. He listened with empathy and offered suitable advice, which made me feel valued and confident through a difficult time. I would highly recommend Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Yann G

    Yann Guezennec / Chris Hadrill - Thanks for the detailed, informed and professional advice for my settlement. When comprise is the rule I felt we could have been maybe a bit more aggressive from the start. However an acceptable outcome considering the situation. Thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

    Posted 2 months ago

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago