A BRADFORD woman is delighted after winning an “unprecedented” employment tribunal against her manager for racial harassment.

Sandeep Kaur, 38, of East Bowling, was one of two claimants in a case, at Leeds Employment Tribunal Court, which involved two respondents – her employer, Capita, which was cleared of any liability, and another employee, Mr John Woodhouse, against whom the complaint succeeded.

The 'fact' section of the 'written reasons' document for the judgement states: “The Claimants, both of Asian ethnicity, complain of racial harassment arising out of an alleged comment made by their Operations Team Manager, Mr John Woodhouse.”


The incident in question happened on January 16 this year, at around 10:45pm.

Both claimants stated: “Shortly before the end of their shift, Mr Woodhouse had been walking past their bank of desks.

“He is said to have looked at a white colleague and stated: ‘Has Mattar been dipped and had his head shaved?’

“The white colleague was occupying a seat usually occupied by a black colleague, Mattar.

“Mr Woodhouse denies that he made that comment on that day or at any other time.”

Capita was cleared of any liability, as the company was able to prove “it took all reasonable steps to prevent” the act and therefore was not liable for it and any damages.

A Capita spokesperson said: “We are pleased with the tribunal’s judgment that Capita was not liable and that we take all reasonable steps to avoid this type of behaviour, which clearly falls below the standards we expect.”

But, the complaint of racial harassment against Mr Woodhouse was judged to be “well founded and succeeded.”

Miss Kaur described her experience in the aftermath of the comment.

She said: "It created a hostile environment and it was very stressful at that time.

“Especially knowing we were still working in the same area as him.”

The 38-year-old admitted she’d have been lost without the support of her union, Equality for Workers Union (EFWU), who helped her and the other employee fight the case.

She said: “I’m really happy with the outcome. It just shows that justice is served.

“What I do want to focus on is, just as a normal employee, you might not know what your rights are.

“The union have supported me through everything.

“They helped me get justice and I would urge other people to use their unions.

“It’s very important for people to be with a union.”

The judgement document states “as compensation for injury to feelings”, Mr Woodhouse will have to pay each of the claimants £1,250, with an additional £71.15 fee representing interest accrued thereon.

Mizan Khan, General Secretary and Co-Founder of EFWU described the outcome of the case as unprecedented.

He said: “It’s very unusual. Normally the company gets served.

“Normally the company supports them."

He added: “It’s sad in 2019, incidents of racial harassment are continuing in these workplaces and as a union we will fight for justice for our members who are subjected to these discriminatory acts."

“We operate a zero tolerance policy on any form of discriminatory conduct against our union members.

“The members in question are over the moon and it also gives hope to others in all kinds of workplaces not to accept illegal acts and perpetrators cannot escape from action that can be taken against them.”