A former cashier at a London casino has been awarded almost £75,000 in compensation for unfair dismissal and age and race discrimination.
Ms Leher, who is of black African heritage, worked at Aspers Stratford City casino in east London from November 2011 until her resignation in April 2019.
An employment tribunal heard she had been “shunned” by colleagues after raising a grievance, and had requests for training ignored despite a younger white colleague being granted a place on the course when he requested it.
The tribunal heard that on the cash desk no black or black mixed heritage cashier had been promoted, and that out of 560 staff only two black or mixed heritage staff – of which there were 39 in 2018 – had been promoted to supervisory positions. The tribunal found that the company had no adequate reason for this.
In May 2018 the claimant raised a grievance about a breach of the company’s equality and diversity policy. She said the company had appointed a cash desk supervisor without advertisement, and she complained about not receiving a bonus.
This grievance was dismissed, with the company stating the employee had been appointed following an earlier exercise and that Leher did not qualify for the bonus.
She was later told that she would be subjected to disciplinary proceedings if she made any further discrimination allegations without evidence.
In December 2018, she claimed that she had been excluded from a conversation where colleagues had discussed going out for a drink. The tribunal concluded that this exclusion was because she had complained of discrimination.
In the Ms R Leher v Aspers (Stratford City) and Others tribunal decision, Employment Judge Sarah Moor said: “We unanimously agree that being excluded from discussions at work about a social occasion amongst colleagues when one would normally be included would subject an employee to a detriment at work.
“A reasonable employee would consider that such exclusion was to their disadvantage because they had lost the opportunity to bond with colleagues on that social occasion.
“The occasion was sufficiently linked to work by the fact that it was amongst work colleagues and was discussed about at work and would provide the opportunity for team bonding.”
Leher later went off sick with stress. When she returned to work, she was asked to complete six weeks’ training related to gaming tables, which the claimant found “insulting” as she was an experienced member of staff. She made the point that the company would be treating her differently from colleagues who did not have to go through the same length of training.
When she resigned from the company, Leher said the training course offer had been “demeaning, belittling and insulting”, and was “an act of discrimination in itself” compared to a colleague who had only a few hours of training.
“We conclude the reason for [the] decision to maintain the need for six weeks’ training was because she regarded the claimant as a malicious complainant and therefore a troublemaker.”
It found that the employers’ conduct breached Leher’s terms of employment, so therefore her resignation amounted to constructive unfair dismissal.
The majority of the tribunal panel found that the dismissal itself, however, was not due to direct race or age discrimination as Leher claimed. However, one panel member felt it had been discriminatory.
Leher was awarded £74,113.65 in compensation. Aspers Group declined to comment.