Bank Employee Claims Being a ‘White, Middle-Aged Male’ Led to Unfair Dismissal

A white, middle-aged employee has blamed his ethnic background for his mistreatment by his employer, Lloyds Bank, after uttering a racial slur during an anti-discrimination training session.

Unforeseen Fallout of an Anti-Racism Training Session

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A 59-year-old Lloyds Bank employee, Carl Borg-Neal, found himself entangled in a legal battle after being sacked for uttering a racial slur during an anti-racism training session.

Unfair Dismissal

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The tribunal ruled in his favour, citing unfair dismissal and discrimination based on his dyslexia, awarding him substantial damages. However, the aftermath revealed a lingering stain on Borg-Neal’s reputation.

A Racial Slur

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During an online training session attended by about 100 Lloyds managers, Borg-Neal, inquiring about handling offensive language, inadvertently used the full racial slur instead of the intended abbreviation.

Made Without Malice

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The tribunal acknowledged that the comment was made without malice and attributed it to Borg-Neal’s dyslexia, which causes him to “spurt things out” due to the fear of losing his train of thought. 

A Two-Year Legal Battle

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For Borg-Neal, the legal victory comes as a vindication of his campaign to clear his name. Despite being awarded damages close to £500,000, he is still without his desired resolution – an apology from Lloyds and reinstatement to his old job.

No Apology

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The absence of an apology leaves the allegation of racism hanging over him, impacting his personal and professional life. “It is kind of a double-edged sword. When I set out on this legal claim, I said to my mum: ‘If I have to sell my house, I don’t care because this is about clearing my name. Lloyds were calling me racist and that is certainly something I am not and something I have never been,” said Borg-Neal.

Borg-Neal’s Further Claims

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After 30 years with Lloyds, Borg-Neal believes he has been treated like a “pariah.” He reflects on whether his experience would have been different if he weren’t a “white middle-aged male.” 

A Contentious Environment

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The aftermath of the training session revealed a contentious environment. While Borg-Neal’s dyslexia was recognized as a contributing factor, the trainer’s reaction, described as aggressive, adds complexity to the situation.

White Privilege?

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“I feel very discriminated against,” he said, “I often wonder if I wasn’t a white middle-aged male would I have had to go through everything I went through? There is no way of telling. But when I talk to my friends – and as you can imagine a good many are white, middle-aged and male – we all agree that is the worst thing you can be right now. You are bottom of everything.”

Long Legal Battle

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The tribunal acknowledged the emotional toll on Borg-Neal, highlighting the “shock, hurt, humiliation, and damage” he suffered.

Health Toll

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The extended legal battle not only impacted his reputation but also took a toll on his health, causing back pain and anxiety. 

Free Speech Union and Colleagues Reflect on Victory

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The Free Speech Union (FSU), supporting Borg-Neal’s case, views it as a reminder for employers to treat each employee fairly, irrespective of “dogma.”

Justice at Last

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“Mr. Borg-Neal was treated abysmally by his employer,” said FSU legal officer Karolien Celie, “and we are delighted that justice has been served in his case. Mr. Borg-Neal’s case is a timely reminder for employers not to be blinded by dogma but to treat each employee fairly in accordance with the law and in a spirit of tolerance, open-mindedness and good faith.” 

Congratulations From Colleagues

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One of Borg-Neal’s colleagues, who comes from an ethnic minority background, sent him a letter of congratulations which read, “Now the lid has been lifted I wanted to say how proud I am to count you as a friend and a colleague. Stand up, stand tall and please reach out if I can help in any way.”

Emotions Run High

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Borg-Neal was notably emotional when reading the letter aloud.

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