Lawyers and union leaders have welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision to rule that an employer was not guilty under the Race Discrimination Act when it dismissed a worker who became a councillor for the far-right British National Party (BNP).
Arthur Redfearn, who was employed by services company Serco to transport vulnerable adults and children to schools and daycentres, was elected to Bradford Council for the BNP in 2004.
Serco dismissed him on health and safety grounds, as part of its duty of care to its passengers, fellow employees and Redfearn himself.
Redfearn claimed he was dismissed on racial grounds, which was initially rejected by a tribunal. The Employment Appeal Tribunal then overturned that decision, but last week the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Serco.
Michael Ryley, employment partner at law firm Pinsent Masons, which represented Serco, said: “This is an important decision for the future of race relations law in this country. If Serco had not been successful, the efforts of those tackling racial discrimination in the workplace would have been seriously undermined.”
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “Serco deserves credit for taking on this case that has now established this important precedent.”