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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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A collegue said he was hindu and hates muslims. I replied saying

Resolved Question:

A collegue said he was hindu and hates muslims. I replied saying 'the reason people think the muslim religion is evil is an interpretation of the quran' at this point a muslim person overheard me saying muslim religion is evil. I immediately apologized and told him what I meant, that it is peoples interpretations of the quran and not what it actually means. He said not to worry about it and shook my hand. I have now been suspended under gross misconduct as he has put in a grievance.
Is this classed as racist as there was not intention of this?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. How long have you worked there for?

Customer:

7 years, with a clean record. I am a supervisor.

Ben Jones :

ok let me get my response ready please

Ben Jones :

A comment can be offensive (racist, bullying, etc) even if there was no malicious intention behind it. Often it would depend on the individual circumstances but it would essentially come down to the subjective views of those taking offence. Of course the less intent and malice there was the more chances you have of arguing that this was not something that should be punished with a severe penalty, such as dismissal, and that it was just a misunderstanding.


 


A lot will depend on what the employer’s investigation uncovers. Before they take any formal action they will have a duty to undertake a reasonable investigation, such as interviewing those who witnessed the conversation and use this to determine what, if any, further action is necessary. So they could still drop this before it goes any further, but they could also commence formal disciplinary proceedings, which you can defend and appeal the outcome of. It is the hearing where you will defend yourself and provide reason as to why this was not intentional racism or that you did not mean to offend anyone and that this was obviously a misunderstanding.

Customer:

There was another member of staff present that will confirm my story. There was genuinely no malice behind the statement, I feel I was in fact actually defending the muslim religion.

Customer:

If the whole statement is confirmed by a witness, would this still be seen as racist because of how it made him feel?

Ben Jones :

racism does not have to be intentional to be valid, someone could genuinely make a remark which they believe was innocent, which can be seen as offensive by another person. But it is the intentions behind the statement that would often also dictate how serious the allegations are viewed and the potential outcome of any action taken as a result

Customer:

Would it be in my best interests to just be apologetic or to defend myself and stand my ground?

Ben Jones :

I would suggest you are apologetic, show remorse, genuinely state there was no malice or intention behind these comments and explain the context of the conversation

Ben Jones :

but this will be with a combination of defending yourself as well, but the remorse, etc would be your starting point

Ben Jones :

Please let me know if this has answered your original question or if you need me to clarify anything else for you in relation to this? Thanks

Customer:

Yes that's great. Thank you for your help.

Ben Jones :

You are most welcome. Please take a second to leave a positive rating for the advice I have provided as that is an important part of our process. Thank you and feel free to bookmark my profile for future help:



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Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 45346
Experience: Qualified Employment Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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