£470,000 awarded to employee sacked for using the ‘N-word’

An employment tribunal (‘ET’) decided at a liability hearing that a manager, Mr Borg-Neal, who used an offensive racial term in a race awareness training session, was unfairly dismissed and subjected to discrimination because of something arising from his disability (dyslexia).  We discussed the reasons for the decision and what we can learn from it in September https://www.watershed.law/post/dismissing-a-manager-for-using-the-n-word-was-unfair-and-discriminatory

At the remedies hearing, the ET awarded over £470,000 in compensation, plus interest and tax.

The award included:

Future loss of earnings

£309,867.86 for future loss of earnings, including a 5% uplift for the respondent’s failure to follow the Acas Code.  The tribunal considered that Mr Borg-Neal was unfit to work because of mental ill-health caused by his dismissal and the subsequent tribunal proceedings, and it may take up to two years for him to recover.  The tribunal also noted that Mr Borg-Neal would be 61 by the time he could return to work, making it very unlikely that he would find secure, full-time, reasonably paid employment.

Injury to feelings

£15,000 for injury to feelings caused by the shock, hurt, humiliation and damage to his self-esteem of losing a job he loved and had held a long time.

Aggravated damages

£3,000 in aggravated damages was awarded for the respondent’s actions in ‘distorting the tribunal’s liability judgment’ in a document submitted to the tribunal to explain why Mr Borg-Neal’s reinstatement was not practicable, which served to ‘rub salt in the wound’.

Personal injury

£23,000 for personal injury to recognise the severe depression and anxiety caused to Mr Borg-Neal by the circumstances of his dismissal.

The tribunal also made these four recommendations to the respondent under section 124(3) of the Equality Act 2010:

  • To circulate the tribunal’s liability judgment to the Board members and request they read it.
  • To place a note on Mr Borg-Neal’s records to confirm that the tribunal found his dismissal unfair and discriminatory.
  • To inform the FCA that the tribunal found Mr Borg-Neal’s dismissal unfair and discriminatory.
  • To provide Mr Borg-Neal with a neutral reference.

The respondent has appealed against the tribunal’s liability judgment.

Case: Borg-Neal v Lloyds Banking Group plc ET/2202667/22 (19th December 2023)