BA pilot loses ‘race culture’ case against airline

A British Airways (BA) pilot who blew the whistle on what he called a “canteen culture of racism” among fellow pilots has lost a victimisation claim at tribunal.

Doug Maughan has been ordered to pay £4,400 towards BA’s legal fees because his case was thrown out on a legal technicality, after it emerged he had not followed the BA complaints procedure.

Judge David Cockburn ruled the tribunal had no discretion to hear Maughan’s complaint under the Race Relations Act after he admitted that he had not put his complaints to BA in writing. He also accepted BA’s argument that it was “unreasonable” to have brought a case to a tribunal that was not based on a written grievance.

However, Maughan claimed he first approached bosses about his victimisation after hearing a senior pilot say “coon” during a training session on a flight simulator. Maughan said he was threatened by an English pilot who sent him racially abusive letters and e-mails calling him a “Jock” over an article he published for the staff magazine. He said his relationship with his employer deteriorated after he verbally reported the incident, and was consequently issued with a final warning letter.

The judge has ordered a two-day hearing in June so Maughan can appeal against the final written warning from BA.

A BA spokesman said it would “vigorously defend” the written warning.

“Any reports made by staff about racist behaviour are taken extremely seriously and investigated as a matter of priority,” the spokesman added.

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