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JPP Law Blog

Black driver was unfairly dismissed due to his race

An Employment Tribunal has ruled that a black lorry driver who was sacked by a haulage company was discriminated against because of his race.

Driver Charles Christopher Barnes was employed by Robinsons of Worcester Aggregates Ltd.

He was dismissed after he was involved in a "minor road traffic collision" - despite having a clean disciplinary record.

The company said he was guilty of gross misconduct after what they described as a "careless and reckless manoeuvre".

Mr Barnes took legal action, claiming race discrimination. He said that as the only black driver employed by Robinsons, he had been treated worse than white drivers involved in similar collisions.

Robinsons said that race played no part in their decision and added that they had a "broad ethnic mix" of employees. They also accused Mr Barnes of displaying an "arrogant demeanour" during the hearing.

However, Judge MacMillan ruled in Mr Barnes' favour. He said: "Mr Barnes showed no such demeanour. He was certainly indignant and felt strongly that he had been seriously wronged but that was all.

"Mr Barnes' dismissal was both procedurally and substantively unfair. There was a wholly inadequate investigation and there were no grounds at all for believing that he was guilty of deliberately aggressive and dangerous driving.

"Mr Barnes has been less favourably treated than others have been treated in a wide range of cases in which the circumstances are not materially different from his case."

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email

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