Former Cleveland police officer, Mark Dias, experienced discrimination and bullying whilst working at Cleveland Police force. His claim for damages relating to discrimination, victimisation and whistleblowing has been settled for £500,000 four years after he left the firm in 2013.
This comes after Cleveland Police Force referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission in 2014 after a series of complaints of discrimination were reported.
The force’s chief constable, Ian Spittal, has responded to the accusation, confirming that Mark was exposed to discrimination whilst in the force and experienced rebuttal when he challenged “institutional racism and wrongdoing.”
It was this negative response to claims of discrimination that made it impossible for Mark to remain within the force. Mark believes that the most shocking reality that came out of his experience at Cleveland Police force was the normalisation of racial abuse. Significantly, he found that Asian police officers were treated as untrustworthy and treated with disdain if they were to express concern into conduct or complain. He states:
"Racist conduct and culture just became quite normal and accepted."
Under The Equality Act (2010), it is illegal to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of what are known as “protected characteristics.” The list includes race, gender, age, sexuality, disability, gender reassignment and religion or belief. Other protected characteristics which are arguably less widely known include marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, maternity leave and paternity leave.
Beyond this, The Equality Act states someone should not experience discrimination due to their association with someone who has a protected characteristic, or, as seen in this case, if they have complained about discrimination or supported another person’s claim for discrimination.
Ian Spittal criticises the way that the claims of discrimination were handled by Cleveland Police force’s leaders who he believes let down Mark Dias and others like him. It is his regret that the team encouraged claims to be dismissed rather than facing up to the responsibility of enforcing change. He states that changes have been made to improve the complaints process within the force.
This desire to make change is evident in that a joint statement was put together by both parties agreeing with the amount of compensation which should be issued to Mark Dias. Ian Spittal has also apologised to him for "the damage to his reputation and career".
Duncan Lewis Employment Solicitors
Duncan Lewis employment solicitors act on behalf of claimants and respondents in all Employment Tribunal related matters – including matters involving discrimination at work under the Equality Act 2010.
Our employment team are experienced in representing all types of employers, both large and small – as well as individual employees and collective employees in matters relating to the Employment Rights Act 1996 and discrimination at work claims.
If you require expert advice on employment matters relating to discrimination at work, call Duncan Lewis Solicitors on 0333 772 0409.