The EAT has held that an employer is liable under the Race Relations Act 1976 (“RRA”) for discriminatory conduct of a third party where he knowingly fails to protect an employee from repetitive harassment by that third party. The key facts in this case were:

  • N, an Iranian, was employed as a residential social worker by the Council at a home for troubled children.
  • One of the children, A, was repeatedly racially offensive to N. N notified the Council who did nothing to safeguard N against this behaviour.
  • N went on sick leave and then brought a claim of harassment (amongst other things) against the Council.
  • A tribunal found in N’s favour.

The EAT rejected the Council’s appeal and held that because there had been a continuing course of offensive behaviour from A to N of which the Council had been aware, the Council were therefore liable for A’s acts.

Key point: It is important for employers to have Dignity at Work Policies which are properly enforced. Key staff should be appropriately trained on the implementation of the policy and all staff aware of the policy and its contents.

Sheffield City Council v Norouzi