Hotel group did not discriminate against black manager

BUDGET hotel chain Travelodge has successfully defended claims of race discrimination after a lengthy hearing at Central London Employment Tribunal.

In a unanimous judgment released on 12 May 2017, Employment Judge Snelson and two lay members rejected all claims by Ms Otieno, manager at one of Travelodge’s central London hotels, that the company had discriminated against her, victimised her or harassed her on the grounds of her race as a black woman of African origin.

Over seven full days of evidence, the Tribunal heard extensive detail about the workings of the hotel company and the way in which staff are promoted into positions of senior management. Ms Otieno had alleged that she had been turned down for various jobs on the grounds of her race, but the Tribunal found that in fact she had only applied for one job that she did not obtain, and on that occasion the white candidate had performed better.

The Tribunal firmly rejected her assertion that recent promotions of other black employees into high-ranking positions had been done simply to try to influence the Tribunal against her case.

The Tribunal also rejected the suggestion that Ms Otieno had been paid less than her white colleagues – pay evidence suggested she was in some cases paid more than them – or that she had been harassed or victimised by employees of the hotel group.

Finally, the Tribunal concluded that the majority of the matters that the claimant had complained about had occurred outside the three-month time limit for discrimination claims and that there was no reason to extend the time limit. The proceedings were therefore dismissed.

Catherine Urquhart represented Travelodge, and was instructed by Brabners LLP (www.brabners.com)

A transcript of the case can be found here