Belfast Telegraph

Sacked African-born postman fails in race and disability discrimination claim

A sacked African-born postman failed today in a bid to establish he suffered racial and disability discrimination.

Senior judges rejected Serge Tagro's bid to overturn an industrial tribunal finding against him by a majority verdict.

Mr Tagro, from the Ivory Coast, worked as a postman based in Dungannon, Co Tyrone for more than three years.

He was dismissed in 2010 due to an unacceptable attendance record.

Although he suffered from a skin complaint and associated leg pains, medical advice was obtained which stated he was fit for full duties and responsibilities.

Issues were also raised about the alleged misdelivery of mail.

Mr Tagro was said to have apologised for that, and suggested unnamed others were also responsible.

He claimed management was trying to get rid of him, and also raised allegations of bullying and harassment.

In 2011 an industrial tribunal rejected his claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of disability and race.

A challenge to that decision in the Court of Appeal heard claims that he was treated differently regarding deliveries.

He also claimed the workplace had become threatening, uncomfortable and that no physiotherapy was provided for a shoulder accident.

Two of the three judges who heard his appeal completely rejected his case.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan, backed by Lord Justice Girvan, held that there had been no error of law.

He said: "The medical evidence for the respondent expressly concluded that there was no substantial and long-term adverse impact on day to day activities."

Dealing with the claim that management were determined to get rid of Mr Tagro, Sir Declan said it was not consistent with the fact that he was not dismissed when first assessed under attendance procedures.

"The tribunal rejected the submission that the imposition of the reprimand was less favourable treatment after a full review of the evidence," he added.

The third judge Sir John Sheil, agreed there had been no error of law in the findings on disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

But he also stated: "I am of the opinion that the claimant in the present case had proved a prima facie case of race discrimination, and that the burden of proof to rebut that shifted to the respondent, and that the tribunal was in error in finding that it had not done so."

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