A spokesman for Hope Not Hate said: “If calling someone a Paki is not racist behaviour, then what is? The BBC took a clear line on the Carol Thatcher golliwog comment. If anything this comment is even more offensive.” The BBC has since issued a statement confirming that “The BBC does not condone offensive language in the workplace. Anton Du Beke has apologised unreservedly to Laila Rouass who has accepted his apology.”
How should an employer react?
Du Bekes comments clearly fall within the Race Relations Act 1976 anti-harassment provisions. However, what is the employers best course of action in a situation such as this?
Tackling racism is no easy task. It is important that the employer is seen to be tackling the problem and taking it seriously, whilst treating an accused employee fairly during any disciplinary process. Should the employer make a rash decision without investigating an incident and dismiss an employee for making racist remarks, this may fall outside the band of reasonable responses if the employer fails to consider that the comments were made flippantly and without intention to offend.