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 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

4.76 Average

172 Reviews

Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 4 days ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

Posted 4 days ago

Anonymous

Got the job done swiftly without going too much in to detail.

Posted 4 days ago

Derek W

Redmans dealt with my case very efficiently and I was happy with the outcome.

Posted 6 days ago

Anonymous

Timely professional advice!

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very good service

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

I was in contact with Chris and then worked with Caroline on an employment matter. I was very pleased with the service and professionalism throughout, and came away with satisfied with the outcome. Would happily recommend.

Posted 1 week ago

Nikki

Received advice re employment law. Chris was very helpful and advised accordingly. Would happily recommend them and if ever I need help again, will not think twice before using them.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 2 months ago

Davinder P

Good Service

Posted 2 months ago

Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 months ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 2 months ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Good and quick service

Posted 2 months ago

Ricky D

Very satisfying to be assured of such attention and professionalism.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service - thankyou

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Efficient, timely and friendly support and advice

Posted 2 months ago