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Afro-Caribbean soldier wins racism claim against British Army

03 Dec 2019 Daily Mail Online

An Afro-Caribbean soldier has won a racism claim against the British Army because his superiors confused him with the only other black sergeant in his unit.

Sergeant Randy Date, a veteran of conflicts in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, was given a scathing review for his performance on a training course that he hadn't even participated in.

A tribunal heard that the event had actually been taught by another soldier of the same rank - who also happened to be black.

And the panel ruled that, as a result, the Ministry of Defence was guilty of having racially discriminated against Sgt Date.

Sergeant Randy Date was baffled when he received a scathing review for a course taught by a black colleague at Colchester's Military Corrective Training Centre in Essex (pictured) 

Sgt Date joined the British Army in September 2003 as a rifleman and carried out several tours, the tribunal heard.

The experienced soldier, who was born in Grenada, was transferred to work in the Training Wing of the Military Corrective Training Centre - often referred to as Britain's only military prison - in Colchester in 2017.

He had previously been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and had been placed on sick leave.

There were nine sergeants employed in the Training Wing but Sgt Date and another soldier, Sgt Masoud Rashid, were the only ethnic minorities.

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Sgt Date was left confused after he was branded in an assessment as being 'badly prepared' and 'heavily reliant on course notes' in a class he hadn't taught.

After realising he had been confused for Sgt Rashid, he angrily rang the officer who wrote the report, named in the tribunal as Flight Lt Taylor, accusing him of racism.

Flight Lt Taylor claimed he had been confused by what classroom the training session had been taking place in.

However the tribunal found it was unlikely Flight Lt Taylor was even present at the time of the incident and was relying on feedback from another officer who was actually there.

Mr Steve Elliott, who was Sgt Major at the time, had actually carried out the assessment and it was he who confused Sgt Date for Sgt Rashid.

When Sgt Rashid complained to Flight Lt Taylor on 16 January 2018 the lieutenant informed a superior named Lt Colonel Nowell who replied: 'I'm not been held to ransom by Sgt Date holding up the racist card.

'It's utter rubbish and the sole defence of an otherwise under-performing SNCO (senior non-commissioned officer).

'He may have issues but I need to take a strong but defensible line with people like him to drive up the standard of our staff.'

Sgt Date also claimed Afro-Caribbean soldiers in the unit were viewed with a general suspicion and were seen as being 'lazy' by colleagues.

In 2017 on November 27 there was a WhatsApp group conversation between Sgt James Lane, Sgt Birch, Mr Elliott and other members of the MCTC, when they discovered they missed out on tickets to a Phil Collins concert.

In the chat Sgt Lane said: 'So, no big Phil tonight in the Albert Hall. Some f***ing squeezer of a split a*se has monumentally f***ed up with our tickets and sold em twice.'

Forgetting that Sgt Date was also in the WhatsApp group, a Sgt Stephen Birch replied: 'Unreal. I think it was Randy Day (Date), as he asked (for) some time off as well.'

Mr Steve Elliott joined in and said: 'Randy Date. He gets f***ing everywhere. Except work.'

The tribunal found this conversation was not racist, although it was offensive, as Sgt Date had indeed had a lot of time off, albeit due to sickness related to his PTSD.

It did however say the term 'split a*se' which is a derogatory term used in the military to refer to women, was 'wholly unacceptable'.

Employment Judge George Burgher concluded: 'We conclude that Flight Lt Taylor and Mr Elliott criticised the Claimant's performance on a course that he did not carry out, the Right Turn Course. This course was carried out by the only other black sergeant in the Training Wing, Sgt Rashid. Therefore Sgt Date's claim for race discrimination in this regard succeeds.'

The tribunal found although it might be a 'sad reality' that black individuals from Caribbean Islands are wrongly perceived by some in the army to be in some way lazy, the assessment by Flight Lt Taylor was not based on these stereotypes.

A hearing will be held on December 12 to decide what compensation or other remedy Sgt Date is entitled to.

 

Original Link: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7751797/Afro-Caribbean-soldier-wins-racism-claim-against-British-Army.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490

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