Hearing rejects race claim was factor in Wigan charity worker's dismissal

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A charity worker from Wigan who is said to have been called a “gorilla” by a vulnerable adult has lost a race discrimination claim.

But a Liverpool employment tribunal has ruled while Dominic Mwambi-Dikuyi may have been abused while working for Brothers of Charity (BoC), it had no bearing on him being sacked later.

Rejecting his case, Judge Marion Batten said Mr Mwambi-Dikuyi had already been given a written warning for breaching confidentiality by storing the medical details of clients on his personal laptop.

And then he was fired shortly afterwards for gross misconduct after colleagues complained that he had been sleeping on the job, while looking after another vulnerable adult in late October 2016 at a community centre in Liverpool.

The tribunal heard that Mr Mwambi-Dikuyi had also been investigated the same month after the charity, which has an office on Hallgate, received a sexual harassment claim involving him, lodged by one of his female colleagues.

An interview with the care worker into the matter is said to have lasted for three to four hours, with Mr Mwambi-Dikuyi claiming the grilling was so extensive because he was being victimised because of his race.

But Judge Batten said: “In light of the allegation made, and its nature, the respondent was bound to investigate.

“The tribunal found it proper and proportionate for the respondent to interview the claimant when it did, and in the manner it did, given the serious nature of that complaint.”

The tribunal was also told that the charity, which provides care services across Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, accepted Mr Mwambi-Dikuyi had been racially abused by a vulnerable adult who had often “exhibited challenging behaviour” towards other staff.

In dismissing his race discrimination claim, Judge Batten said that when the care worker complained BoC had reorganised its rotas, within a fortnight, to ensure he did not come into contact with the same person again.

The judge added: “The tribunal did not find that the claimant’s dismissal was an act of race discrimination.

“The evidence confirmed that the claimant was dismissed because of sleeping at work, which was a matter of gross misconduct.

“The tribunal noted that, at the time, the claimant did not suggest that his race was a reason for his dismissal.

“What the tribunal did find was that, when the claimant did alert the respondent to racism that he was suffering, from a service user, they took action in response to that complaint and they transferred the claimant as soon as they possibly could.”

The care worker also claimed that, during a conversation with a colleague, the colleague had made “derogatory comments about immigrants which related to him”.

But the judge said she was not convinced that the exchange had, in fact, ever taken place, given there was no complaint until his employer raised the sexual harassment allegation with him.

Mr Mwambi-Dikuyi was ordered to surrender £500 he had deposited, when making his claims, to meet the charity’s costs.

But the judge refused to order any further contributions towards BoC’s legal fees as the claimant was currently said to be a student with limited funds.