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 EqLR 650, London South Employment Tribunal - Rebecca Tuck QC
Lorna Campbell was employed by PCS as an equality offi cer, mainly dealing with race equality issues. She is of black Afro-Caribbean heritage and was secretary of the union's National Black Members Committee (NBMC).
In October 2010, Jagtar Singh, a PCS member but not an employee, was elected as chair of the NBMC. On 9 April 2011, following the TUC black workers’ conference, a small group of PCS members attending the conference went out to dinner. The meal was not associated with any formal PCS activity, although members attending the conference were given a subsistence allowance. At the dinner, Mr Singh made a number of abusive and aggressive remarks about Ms Campbell. There was evidence that he said he would "make it his mission to finish her off".
Ms Campbell wrote a memo to the Respondent alleging that she had been subjected by Mr Singh to bullying, harassment and intimidation on the grounds of race. She subsequently brought a grievance, but when this was not resolved to her satisfaction, she brought Employment Tribunal proceedings against the union.
The Tribunal held that the union was not liable under s.109 of the Equality Act as a principal for the comment made in the restaurant by a PCS member. "The Tribunal’s finding is that whilst Mr Singh was at the time of this meal the chairman of the NBMC, the dinner at which these comments were said to have been made was not an official PCS event. This was an impromptu meal out between friends and colleagues... The Tribunal's finding is that there was no authority conferred by the Respondent on Mr Singh at that dinner. He attended in a purely personal capacity. The Respondent did not know that such a dinner was taking place."