De Souza v Automobile Association: CA 19 Dec 1985

The claimant appealed against a finding that there had been no race discrimation in her case. She had overheard a manager refer to her as ‘the wog’. She said that this was sufficient to mean that she suffered a detriment. The employer replied that the word detriment shouldbe looked at not by the effect on the employee, but by the objective difference in treatment by the employer.
Held: The claim failed. May LJ said ‘Apart from the actual decisions in these cases I think that this necessarily follows upon a proper construction of section 4 and in particular Section 4(2)(c) of the Act. Racially to insult a coloured employee is not enough by itself, even if that insult caused him or her distress; before the employee can be said to have been subjected to some ‘other detriment’ the Court or Tribunal must find that by reason of the acts or acts complained of a reasonable worker would or might take the view that he had thereby been disadvantaged in the circumstances in which he had thereafter to work.’
May LJ
[1985] EWCA Civ 13, [1986] IRLR 103, [1986] ICR 514
Race Relations Act 1976 4
England and Wales
CitedBL Cars Ltd v Brown EAT 1983
A black employee of the defendant had been arrested and granted bail. The defendant feared that he would attempt to re-enter the plant under a false name. The Chief Security Officer issued instructions to the gates, to include a thorough check on . .
CitedPorcelli v Strathclyde Regional Council EAT 1985
A woman school technician was subjected to a campaign of sexual harassment by two fellow male non-managerial technicians. She sought a transfer.
Held: The real question was whether the sexual harassment was to the detriment of the applicant . .

Cited by:
See AlsoDe Souza v Automobile Association EAT 31-Jan-1997
. .
CitedHM Land Registry v Grant EAT 15-Apr-2010
PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE – Appellate Jurisdiction /Reasons /Burns-Barke
An Employment Tribunal accepted that 6 out of 12 . .
CitedOlasehinde v Panther Securities Plc EAT 10-Jun-2008



Wrongful dismissal

Appellant wrongly and unreasonably accused by employers of sexual harassment. Employers accept his denial but instruct him not . .

These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 01 March 2021; Ref: scu.262666