D’SOUZA V LONDON BOROUGH OF LAMBETH
links not included in this supplement as they are available
on the Internet: |
25th May 2001. Royal Courts of
Justice. Strand, London.|
Donald D'SOUZA V LONDON BOROUGH OF LAMBETH. For text go to
June 2003 the House of Lords judgment in the case of
Donald D'Souza v. London Borough of Lambeth. For text go to:|
10 August 2004. Personnel Today
A man has been banned from bringing claims to employment
tribunals. Donald D'Souza brought seven cases against the
London Borough of Lambeth between 1987 and 1989. One of
his claims reached the House of Lords in June 2003, but
was rejected on the facts. He brought eight more cases between
1997 and 2004, and the Attorney General argued that this
second series rendered D'Souza a vexatious litigant. The
EAT has agreed and made a 'restriction of proceedings' order
of this supplement|
Evening Standard (London) May 23, 1997. Lambeth faces £400,000
bill over race case|
The Evening Standard (London) October 10, 1997. £358,000
for race case man branded 'nutter'|
The Times October 11, 1997. Asian wins Pounds 350,000 over
The Mirror. October 11, 1997. Sacked Man Wins Pounds 360k.|
The Guardian. October 11, 1997. Pounds 358,000 For 'Worst'
Job Racism. |
Mail (London) October 11, 1997. This Man Has Won £360,000
From A Council For Discrimination. That Would Pay 16 Teachers
For A Year|
Computer Weekly October 30, 1997 Tribunal Orders £358,000
Pay-Out To Ex-It Manager|
The Week Nov. 23 1997. Summary of case to Nov 1997. |
Lambeth faces £400,000 bill over race case
BY Paul Waugh
largest ever payout for racial discrimination loomed over
a London council today as it faced a £400,000 compensation
claim from an Asian worker it sacked.
Indian-born Don D'Souza claimed unfair dismissal and racial
victimisation when he lost his £28,000-a-year job
as a computer officer in Lambeth seven years ago.
Since then, two industrial tribunals have ruled that 61-year-old
Mr D'Souza was discriminated against and have ordered Lambeth
to reinstate him and pay backpay and compensation. Despite
the scathing judgments against it, the council has refused
to give him his job back or make any settlement and was
due to put its case at an Employment Appeals Tribunal today.
However, it is understood that even Lambeth's own lawyers
expect to lose the hearing and anticipate that the tribunal
will issue a landmark judgment forcing them to pay up £400,000.
Of this, £200,000 would go to Mr D'Souza and £200,000
to the Treasury as compensation for income support paid
to him during the last seven years.
If the verdict does go against it, Lambeth will appeal.
Yet even if it wins the appeal, the borough is preparing
to pay out a minimum of £200,000.
The saga began in 1990 when the council fired Mr D'Souza
without following its own disciplinary procedures in an
attempt to get rid of him, by its own admission, as quickly
and cheaply as possible.
Lambeth claimed that he was sacked because he had become
'impossible" to manage. Industrial tribunals have since
backed Mr. D'Souza's claim that he was regularly passed
over for promotion because of his colour and harassed by
When they dismissed Mr. D'Souza, council chiefs realised
he could sue for unfair dismissal because normal procedures
had not been followed, but calculated that the maximum he
would be awarded was £13,000.
According to documents seen by the Evening Standard, the
borough decided that it would be cheaper to dismiss him
and not attend any of the expected industrial tribunal hearings.
Mr D'Souza's sacking was approved by Lambeth's then leader,
Left-winger Joan Twelves, and then chief executive John
An industrial tribunal found in 1992 that Mr. D'Souza had
been victimised on grounds of his race and demanded his
reinstatement with backpay of £84,000, but Lambeth
refused. A second tribunal in 1993 also found the council
guilty of discrimination for refusing to shortlist him when
a new computer job was offered after his sacking in 1990.
Last December, a preliminary hearing of the current case
before the Employment Appeals Tribunal indicated that the
case today was likely to go against Lambeth.
A spokeswoman for Lambeth admitted today that the council
was contesting the case but refused to give any details.
'We do not dispute the industrial tribunals' finding of
guilt, but that is not what we are contesting,' she said.
HEADLINE: £358,000 for race
case man branded 'nutter'.
Sandra Laville; Paul Waugh
A COMPUTER operator, who was labelled a "nutter"
by his organisations chief executive, has made history by
winning a £358,000 payout in Britain's biggest race
Indian-born Don D'Souza, who complained of constant racism,
was celebrating victory after a seven-year battle with Lambeth
council who sacked him from his £28,000a-year job as
a computer officer.
But for his determination, 61-year-old Mr. D'Souza would have
missed out on a law change in 1994 which abolished the £12,500
ceiling on race payouts. The council said today it was appealing
against the decision made by an Employment Appeals Tribunal.
Mr. D'Souza, from Surbiton, claimed he was the victim of racial
discrimination and was passed over for promotion. He constantly
complained about the council's racism but his employers dismissed
him as "paranoid".
He was awarded £24,925 from the authority after winning
two industrial tribunals during his battle for compensation
and reinstatement. Mr. D'Souza challenged these payouts, claiming
he was owed back-pay and future loss of earnings until his
retirement at 65.
In a landmark judgment the appeals tribunal revealed today
they had upheld his claim and awarded him £358,288.73.
A spokesman for the Employment Appeal Tribunal said today:
"I have worked here for 16 years and this is the largest
amount that has been awarded to anybody in that time."
Lambeth's chief executive Heather Rab-batts confirmed that
the council would appeal against the decision. She said: "There
were significant mistakes made in this process at the time
and that must be recognised but that is different from coming
to a fair and reasonable settlement.
"There are now procedures in place to guard against this
ever happening again. The judgment should reflect that."
The saga began in 1990 when the council fired Mr D'Souza without
following its own disciplinary procedures to get rid of him,
by its own admission, as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Out of 16 computer staff, Mr D'Souza was the only Asian employee.
All his colleagues were white and kept their jobs in the department
reshuffle in which he was sacked.
The then chief executive John George described Mr D'Souza
as a "nutter" when his sacking was upheld at a meeting
headed by then council leader Joan Twelves.
Lambeth claimed he was sacked because he became impossible
to manage. It said he took issue with most decisions of his
seniors and regularly claimed he was being racially discriminated
against when he failed to get his own way. A source confirmed
today that when the council sacked Mr D'Souza they realised
he could take a tribunal case but calculated that the maximum
he could be awarded was £13,000.
Asian wins Pounds 350,000 over race bias.
text see http://www.thetimes.co.uk/
SACKED MAN WINS POUNDS 360K;
SACKED LAMBETH COUNCIL WORKER WINS RECORD DAMAGES.
Sacked council worker yesterday won record damages for racial
The pounds 358,288 payout ended a seven year battle for ex-computer
officer Don D'Souza, 61.
Indian born Mr D'Souza was the only Asian in his department
and the only one to lose his pounds 28,000-a-year job in a
reshuffle in 1990, when London's Lambeth council sacked him
without following their own disciplinary procedures.
Two years later an industrial tribunal said he should be reinstated
with all back pay, rises and pension rights.
But the council did not take him back.
Another hearing in 1995 also said he had been discriminated
against but still nothing happened.
Yesterday Employment Appeals Tribunal president Mr Justice
Morison called it "the worst case of unlawful discrimination
we have ever had to consider".
He accused the council of a "shameful" campaign
of persistent discrimination and victimisation.
Mr D'Souza, of Surbiton, south west London, said later: "Lambeth
could have saved its ratepayers the expense it has wasted
on defending the indefensible."
POUNDS 358,000 FOR
'WORST' JOB RACISM
A FORMER computer operator has been awarded
a record pounds 358,000 in what was yesterday described as
the "worst case of persistent racial discrimination ever".
Don D'Souza, aged 62, who was born in India and lives in Surbiton,
Surrey, was labelled a "nutter" by his employers,
the Labour-controlled London borough of Lambeth, when he complained
of constant racism at work and of being passed over for promotion.
After an eight-year battle in which Mr D'Souza secured an
unprecedented four industrial tribunal rulings against his
former employer, Lambeth last night admitted it had been in
"an appalling mess" at the time, and said none of
the other people involved was still working for the council.
Mr D'Souza, who began
work in 1986, worked with 15 white staff. They all kept their
jobs in a departmental reshuffle in 1990, while he was sacked
from his pounds 28,000 a year post. The pounds 358,288 award
under the 1976 Race Relations Act covers earnings and pension
for the eight years Mr D'Souza has been out of work and future
loss of earnings until retirement.
He said yesterday that had the council acted properly earlier,
it would have allowed him to work for the people of Lambeth
and it would not have wasted their money "defending the
A council statement said that the case reflected some of the
problems unearthed by a QC's investigation, and major reforms
meant such "a catalogue of errors" could not happen
again. However, it might appeal against the way the award
The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruling which led to the award
said that, but for an unreserved apology by the present chief
executive of Lambeth, Heather Rabbatts, it would have asked
for an official inquiry into its race policies. It added that
it was the worst such case the tribunal had had dealt with.
THIS MAN HAS WON £360,000
FROM A COUNCIL FOR DISCRIMINATION. THATWOULD PAY 16 TEACHERS
FOR A YEAR
biggest pay-out for racial discrimination in British legal
history was being celebrated by an elderly Town Hall official
Indian-born Don D'Souza, 62, won £360,000
from Lambeth Council after a seven-year battle over his
sacking, described by a tribunal as the worst case it had
Mr D'Souza insists he deserves every penny
because the authority wrecked his career and deprived him
of his livelihood.
But Lambeth, the South London council which
was a byword for waste, corruption and far-Left intransigence
in the Eighties and which is still desperately short of
funds, says it cannot afford to pay. The Liberal Democrats
are now the largest single party.
Lambeth Council sources confirmed last night
that the money could have been used to employ 16 new teachers
for a year, re-roof one of the borough's decaying schools,
or build and staff a small nursery.
'We are already under considerable financial
pressure, and we don't have the resources to cover this
payment,' said a council spokesman. 'The cost will be met
by the public purse. We can't say what services will be
affected.' She admitted that Mr D'Souza's case had been
handled 'appallingly' by council
officials, who have all since left the authority, but added
that Lambeth is considering an appeal.
Mr D'Souza, a married man from Surbiton,
Surrey, had worked as a £39,000a-year
manager in the Town Hall's computer department for four
years before he was suddenly sacked in 1990.
Council chiefs claimed that he had become
'impossible' to manage. But Mr D 'Souza said he was being
harassed by white colleagues and had been repeatedly passed
over for promotion because of his race.
At a tribunal two years later, the council
admitted he had been unfairly dismissed, because its own
procedures had been ignored, but denied racial discrimination.
Mr D'Souza won his case, however.
He was awarded £16,000, and the tribunal
chairman ordered Lambeth to give him his job back.
The council paid out the cash in full, but
refused to reemploy Mr D'Souza.
He went back to the tribunal in 1995 to
protest, and was awarded a further £8,925, the maximum
award at the time he was sacked. But Mr D'Souza, backed
by the Commission for Racial Equality, argued that he should
have been paid more because the ceiling on such awards had
been lifted in 1994.
Yesterday the Employment Appeals Tribunal
ruled that he was entitled to £358,288 and 73 pence,
the amount he would have earned after tax from the time
of his sacking to the date he was due to retire at 65 in
the year 2000, plus the pension contributions he lost.
He is expected to hand over up to half his
award to the Treasury to repay the income support he has
received over the last seven years.
Lambeth's lawyers are understood to be planning
an appeal against the way the sum was calculated, arguing
that Mr D'Souza would have probably retired before 65 even
if he was not sacked.
Mr D'Souza said yesterday: 'Had Lambeth
acted properly at the beginning and reinstated me at an
early stage, the financial loss they imposed on me would
have been far smaller. I would have been able to continue
contributing to services for the people of Lambeth through
my chosen career while Lambeth would have saved its ratepayers
the expenses it has wasted on defending the indefensible.'
Mr D'Souza's appeal was heard by High Court judge Sir Thomas
Morison, president of the Employment Appeals Tribunal, and
two lay members.
In its judgment, the tribunal said: 'In
the experience of this court, this is the worst case of
unlawful race discrimination that it has ever had to consider.'
The chairman said: 'Mr D'Souza has been the victim of shameful
treatment by a local authority. He has been deprived of
a job which he enjoyed
doing as a result of a campaign of racial discrimination
and vic-timisation against him.
as money can do it, he has been put into the position he
would have been in had he remained in Lambeth's employment
throughout the rest of his working life.'
TRIBUNAL ORDERS (GBP)
358,000 PAY-OUT TO EX-IT MANAGER
London Borough of Lambeth is considering an appeal against
record race -discrimination damages awarded to a former senior
The council was ordered to pay more than
(GBP) 358,000 to Donald D'Souza, information systems group
manager at the borough from 1986 until his dismissal in
The judge described it as the "worst
case of unlawful discrimination" the court had ever
The Employment Appeals Tribunal award was
the result of eight years' of litigation, during which Lambeth's
present chief executive, Heather Rabbatts, admitted that
the council had "permitted persistent acts of discrimination
on grounds of race".
D'Souza returned from lunch one afternoon
in September 1989 to find a letter on his desk saying he
was suspended pending the termination of his employment.
The council stopped paying his salary immediately.
An industrial tribunal in 1992 found that
D'Souza had been subjected to four counts of racial discrimination
and victimisation by the council:
a. victimisation after alleging racial discrimination;
b. failure to be shortlisted for an appointment because
of his race;
c. "unjustified and unlawful suspension";
d. unfairly and unlawfully dismissed for racial reasons.
Lambeth later failed to comply with the
tribunal's order that D'Souza be reinstated, claiming reorganisation
of the IT department made this "impracticable".
D'Souza appealed to the tribunal under the
Race Relations (Remedies) Act 1994, which lifted the ceiling
on awards in racial discrimination cases.
A council spokeswoman said that D'Souza's
case had been handled by an external adviser brought in
to reorganise Lambeth's IT department.
person was not briefed in the council's equal opportunities
policy for which we have taken full responsibility,"
23, 1997 .
Winning a race suit.
India-born employee Don D'Souza wins £358,28 from London
JON STOCK in London
The jaw-dropper of an award might have stunned
even Don D'Souza. The India-born computer operator, who used
to work for the Lambeth Council in London, received a cheque
for £358,288 (Rs 2.15 crore) last month. He hadn't won
the National Lottery, nor had he inherited the money. The
payment was compensation for one of the worst cases of racial
discrimination in Britain.
The sum was awarded by the Employment Appeals
Tribunal. The previous highest award was £100,000
but the tribunal saw enough reason to award D'Souza the
hefty compensation. "This is the worst case of unlawful
race discrimination that the court has ever had to consider,"
said Mr Justice Morison, president of the tribunal.
D'Souza, 62, who lives in Surbiton in south-west
London, started working for the council in 1986. One of
16 computer operators, he was the only non-white employee.
It wasn't long before he complained of racist insults from
colleagues; one particular manager had constantly given
him unfair reports. When he made an internal complaint,
the council, incredibly, started disciplinary
proceedings against him. D'Souza was dismissed
four years later, an action the tribunal said was "unfair
To understand the background to this landmark
case, it is important to realise just how volatile British
politics were in the 1980s and early 1990s. The country
was in the grip of Thatcherism but a number of local councils,
like Lambeth, Hackney and Liverpool, were controlled by
far left, Labour activists. In retrospect, D'Souza couldn't
have chosen a worse, or more disorganised council to work
for. The Labour party, and particularly its more militant
wing, was a far cry from today's efficient New Labour machine
and those councils under its control were the subject of
The tribunal's award was the culmination
of a marathon, eight-year legal battle by D'Souza. After
his initial dismissal in 1990, he took his case to an industrial
tribunal claiming unfair dismissal and racial discrimination,
and was awarded £16,000 in 1992. The tribunal also
ordered the council to reinstate D'Souza. Its failure to
do so led to a further tribunal hearing in 1995. The tribunal
decided that D'Souza could receive only £8,925 for
Many people might have stopped at this point,
but D'Souza was not to be so easily beaten. After going on
to win a total of five industrial hearings, all of which were
limited by law in what they could pay him, he decided to take
his case to the Employment Appeals Tribunal, which duly rewarded
him for his determination and appalling treatment by the council.
Understandably, D'Souza was relieved to have settled the matter,
but he criticised the council for wasting taxpayers' money
by trying to "defend the indefensible".
Lambeth Council is considering an appeal against the sum
awarded. It is no secret that its finances are in a poor
shape and it can ill afford such a large sum. The tribunal's
calculations were based on loss of pension and earnings,
D'Souza was being paid £30,000 as a systems manager,
and how much he would have earned if he had continued to
work until his retirement at 65.
"The Lottery Jackpot-sized payout to Don D'Souza is
staggering," argued an editorial in the London Evening
Standard. "No one would dispute D'Souza's right to
a workplace free from bigotry, and quite clearly, he had
a legitimate grievance. But at the stroke of a pen, his
payment has leapt to over £350,000. This is recklessly
irresponsible, another example of the crazy compensation
culture, driven jointly by the lawyers and the financial
services industry, who are dancing a lucrative tango."
In a nice twist to the tale, which might
go some way to satisfying those taxpayers who resent the
size of D'Souza's compensation, he has decided to repay
all the income support payments he received from the government.
For the past seven years, D'Souza, who is married, has been
unemployed and claiming benefit.
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