Businesses and organisations have been urged to review the measures they have in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace following recent claims of racism made against the Metropolitan Police.
Six white officers are taking the police force to a tribunal after they were cleared in an earlier trial over accusations of race-related assault on teenagers of Arab background in west London.
The six men, all members of the Territorial Support Group, were taken to court over the alleged assault after a seventh member of the unit, a black officer, gave evidence against his former colleagues.
However, they were all cleared of the charges at the trial at Kingston Crown Court in the autumn of 2009.
They now claim that the Met only pursued the charges because it feared it would be accused of institutional racism if it did not act on the black officer’s complaint.
Speaking to Personnel Today, employment lawyer Michael Bradshaw, partner at Charles Russell, said the case should be a wake up call to organisations and businesses to ensure that their anti-discrimination policies include all sections of the workforce.
“This case should prompt employers to critically examine their culture and commitment to diversity and ensure that its principles reach all areas of the business in practice, while at the same time being able to identify areas of employee dissatisfaction and take positive steps to overcome these,” he said.
Mr Bradshaw advised that fostering a culture that encourages diversity among managers and monitoring employee satisfaction are the best way to avoid cases such as this one arising.
“Good and consistent management all the way through the workforce is a huge protection for a business against claims,” he said.
“At the same time, employee surveys and communication channels can be helpful in picking up areas of dissatisfaction, which could include a counter-reaction to an employer’s culture or agenda.”
The Metropolitan Police strongly denies the allegations made by the officers and plans to defend its actions in the tribunal case.