Case study created in Collaboration with the Bristol Law Centre with thanks to Nathan FitzPatrick and Thea Grattidge.
John, 44, was employed by an agency and had been contracted to work security at a local festival. When he turned up, he was given his badge and went to the induction talk but was then told by his shift leader that there had been a mistake and they didn’t need him. John was surprised by this, and asked his shift leader for an explanation, but didn’t get one. He went to the site security manager, who told him they didn’t want him around as one of the other teams had seen him fighting in a local pub, something John denied. They had a heated argument, during which the site manager used a racial slur against John, who is an Irish Traveller. John had his phone’s video on, and has a recording of the manager using the word.
When he initially tried to get help at a high-street law firm, John was told that because he had a zero-hours contract, there was nothing that could be done, as he hadn’t been employed for long enough to make a claim to the Employment Tribunal. He was told that he might want to join a union as they can help in this kind of situation, but no one else really does that kind of work now that legal aid is mostly gone.
John spent a lot of time frustrated with the whole situation, which led to him not being in the right frame of mind to look for more work, as he felt he couldn’t move on from how he’d been treated. As a result some of his personal relationships suffered.
After a few more dead-ends, including going to the police and the local newspaper, John found a specialist discrimination lawyer, who helped him to make a discrimination claim. The lawyer told John that it’s very common for people to struggle to get good discrimination advice that even other legal professionals often don’t have a good idea of the processes available to challenge discriminatory behaviour.