‘Cultural differences’ not discriminatory

Posted: 21st August 2014

Post boxA Muslim Royal Mail worker whose complaint about a colleague eying naked women online was attributed by his boss to ‘cultural differences’ has failed to convince the Court of Appeal that he was a victim of race and religious discrimination.

The employee insisted that the photograph of ‘overweight naked women’ painted ‘like cows’ which appeared on his co-worker’s computer screen was ‘pornography’ – however, his line manager informed him that that was a matter of perception.

The incident was the subject of one of numerous complaints which the man made against Royal Mail Group Limited before an Employment Tribunal (ET). Another related to an ‘insensitive’ remark by his female superior, who had asked him, "You don't have a problem with women do you?”

His claims of discrimination and victimisation were, however, rejected by the ET and that decision was confirmed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. In dismissing his challenge to those rulings, the Court of Appeal found that the ET had correctly applied the burden of proof. Although parts of the ET’s decision had been poorly phrased, there was no reason to suppose that it had erred in law.