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 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

4.75 Average

195 Reviews

Alkhas K

Excellent service.

Posted 4 days ago

Mathias G

Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Mark W

Most professional from start to finish offering very a personal service. Most impressive and quick when dealing with the matters in hand.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Posted 1 month ago

submit

I am very glad I came across Redmans Solicitors. Fantastic service!

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Fantastic communication, always happy to answer queries, highly recommended.

Posted 1 month ago

Wavenie B

They were very straight to the point, friendly and understanding people. I felt they had my best interest. They were easy to get hold of, replies were almost instant. 5/5 for customer service

Posted 1 month ago

Christina P

Caroline was fantastic to work with - extremely knowledgeable, supportive, thorough and honest. I definitely recommend Redmans!

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Very well done and fast support. Professional and reliable. Highly recommended!

Posted 1 month ago

Helene L

They were very knowledgable in the respected area in terms of change in law/regulations that is crucial for the clients who are seeking for legal arvice.

Posted 1 month ago

Sara R

Very helpful and wonderful advice

Posted 1 month ago

Marie D

very good service all digitalised

Posted 1 month ago

Philip H

Chris Hadrill handled my case with great accuracy and efficiency. Basically made it feel like a process without hassle. Doesn't try to expand the case just for greater fees. I value his professional advice highly.

Posted 1 month ago

Michael W

Professional, responsive and supportive - excellent service!

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I was really happy with the service provided. I had to chase a couple of time but despite that, my matter was dealt with in a timely manor. I would use again in the future

Posted 1 month ago

Lee M

Superb service and always available

Posted 1 month ago

Jonathan S

I was very grateful for the support I received from Redmans during a very difficult period. Rana Tandon really got under the skin of my issue and understood what was important to me, steering me carefully and sensibly to an outcome I was very happy with. I would recommend Redmans to anyone else without any reservations whatsoever.

Posted 2 months ago

Mohamed A

Super helpful and efficient, trustworthy service

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

efficient, responsive and effective

Posted 2 months ago

Andrew B

Very good service

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service, compassionate and a good outcome

Posted 2 months ago