Diversity officer guilty of racism after telling colleague ‘you must have been oppressed’

The tribunal heard Ms Bradbury – who was adopted and raised by white parents – had qualified as a field engineer by September 2018 and later became an inclusion advocate with Ms Cook.

In June 2020, she was upset when Ms Cook called her to discuss her views on the presentation she was planning to make on inclusion and diversity issues.

“It wasn’t specifically about racial discrimination, but that it was taking place against the relatively recent murder of George Floyd in the US and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“Ms Bradbury stated that she did not agree with the terms of any slides she was told about, although she did not have access to them at the time.

“She had seen many of the slides before, but new slides for the presentation were developed by Ms Cook which included, among other things, slides to encourage discussion of systemic racism issues.

“Mrs. Cook explained these slides. Ms Cook told Ms Bradbury that she suffered oppression because of her race and the color of her skin.

“Ms Bradbury has strongly expressed her contrary view,” the panel was told.

After raising the issue with managers, Ms Bradbury was told she was being removed from her role as an inclusion advocate to protect her “emotional well-being”.

She was later fired for gross misconduct after an investigation was launched when she was unable to self-isolate after returning from a holiday in Spain, in violation of government guidelines.

In the Labor Court, she lost unfair dismissal lawsuits related to her dismissal, as well as sex discrimination lawsuits. However, she won a racial discrimination lawsuit for Ms Cook’s comments.

“Causes understandable distress”

In its decision, the panel said Ms Cook’s remark amounted to discrimination, although it added that she did not intentionally use offensive language or attempt to cause harm.

“Ms Cook seems to have assumed that because Ms Bradbury is not white, she must have suffered oppression, which is a form of stereotyping.

“We felt that the remark and the way it was handled by Sky In-Home Services amounted to less favorable treatment. It has understandably distressed Mrs Bradbury.” Diversity officer guilty of racism after telling colleague ‘you must have been oppressed’

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