Statistics May Not Prove Discrimination, But They Can Be Persuasive

Statistical evidence, however striking, is rarely enough to prove discrimination in the workplace. However, the fact that there was not a single non-white manager of a retail chain’s 81 stores in a particular region certainly had a persuasive impact on an Employment Tribunal (ET).

The case concerned a mixed-race man who had served as one of the chain’s store managers in London. He accepted a provisional demotion to deputy manager and a substantial reduction in his pay when he moved to the region. He expected to swiftly progress to a store manager’s role, but that did not come to pass. After being diagnosed with severe depression, he had not returned to work.

After he launched proceedings, the ET noted that the fact that all the chain’s store managers in the region were white was not, by itself, proof of discrimination. In upholding his race discrimination claim, however, it found that, because of his race, he had either consciously or subconsciously been treated less favourably than white applicants for manager positions.

His aspirations had been ignored and he had not been afforded the same career progression opportunities as his white counterparts. The failure to engage him in administrative duties was also discriminatory. His complaints of harassment and age discrimination were rejected, as were other aspects of his race discrimination claim. The amount of compensation due to him will be assessed at a further hearing if settlement terms are not agreed.