Railroad conductors dismissed to question “black privileges” were unfairly dismissed, court rules

The court ruled that a British railroad conductor who was dismissed when he suspected “black privileges” in online diversity training was unfairly dismissed.

The Freedom of Speech Union (FSU), which supported his claim, called for more “free speech training for employers.”

May, Telegraph Railroad conductor Simon Isherwood reported that he was fired for serious illegal activity after attending diversity training at a video conference on white privilege.

At the end of the call, he said, unaware that his phone was still on and 80 staff members were still listening. And I wish I had, do they have black privileges in other countries? So what if you are in Ghana? “

At the age of 60, he felt that the session diversity trainers were “instilling their views on us,” and “implied that all whites were racists, but I That’s not the case, “he added.

A colleague complained to the West Midlands Trains boss, who was immediately fired in March 2021 for serious misconduct.

His proceedings were taken over by the FSU, which drafted Paul Diamond, a barrister of civil liberties, to represent Isherwood.

The Employment Tribunal has now determined that Isherwood has been unfairly dismissed.

Freedom of expression

In a statement, Diamond said, “Freedom of speech is a fundamental right of democratic society, including the right to offend when expressing opinions and beliefs (in this case, social issues), 1998. Annual Human Rights Law. “

But in this case, he added, “there is additional importance that these views were expressed in the privacy of the petitioner’s wife’s home.”

“They weren’t meant to be heard by those who attended or run the course. It was definitely controversial, but the statement he made (to his wife) (Although unprotected because it was done), it resembled an expression of opinion that was not frequently heard on radio or television or read in some newspapers. Of course, an important part of society is those. There is definitely another part of society that disagrees with their views, considers them narrow and may get angry with them, but definitely has the opposite view, “Diamond added. ..

of statement, Brin Harris, FSU’s Chief Legal Advisor, said:

“The lesson is clear. If you are a member of the FSU, make sure your employer knows it. And if you are an employer, don’t bully our members. Please, otherwise we will come for you, “he added.

Free speech training for employers

Toby Young, General Secretary of Freedom of Speech, said:

“I hope this sends a message to other employers. You can’t dismiss a staff member for serious illegal activity to mock awakened diversity training. As the judge said, workers are talking They have rights, including the right to freedom. They get to know their views, “Young said.

“Forget about diversity training for employees. What we need is free speech training for employers,” he added.

A West Midlands Trains spokesman told The Epoch Times in an email that the company respects “court decisions.”

“West Midlands Trains is a comprehensive employer and there is no place in the rail industry to act discriminatory,” a spokesman added.

Owen Evans


Owen Evans is a UK-based journalist who covers stories from different countries with a particular interest in civil liberties and free speech.