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Restaurant manager’s racism claim referred to Royal Court

Restaurant manager’s racism claim referred to Royal Court

Thursday 25 June 2020

Restaurant manager’s racism claim referred to Royal Court

Thursday 25 June 2020


A former Pizza Express manager, who claims the way he was dismissed was racially motivated, is set to fight his case in the Royal Court.

Christian Raducan originally brought the complaints against his former employer over the way he was dismissed, to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal, but it ultimately ruled against him.

But now, he has been granted permission to take his case to the higher, Royal Court, as it was found the Tribunal may have misapplied the law, meaning their decision could be legally challenged. 

Mr Raducan claimed that, ahead of sacking him, the restaurant branch “had not properly investigated the issues he had raised at his disciplinary hearing, had not followed a fair process and had treated other members of staff differently.”

Further to this, the former Deputy Manager “put this different treatment down to his Afro-American ethnicity.”

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Pictured: Mr Raducan originally took his claims to the Employment and Discrimination Tribunal, which ruled against them. 

The company denied this and maintained that “it had followed a fair process and that the decision to dismiss was reasonable.”

The dismissal centred on Mr Raducan’s compliance with the restaurant’s till management, cash and security policy. 

An investigation into some cashing-up discrepancies showed that Mr Raducan “had been authorising unexplained refunds... and had reopened tables many hours after they had been closed.”

This was further looked into by Ross Gerry, a restaurant manager at a non-Jersey Pizza Express, who felt that there was enough evidence of gross misconduct and that there should be a disciplinary process.

In the intervening time, Mr Raducan resigned and was signed off from work due to mental health issues. He was then suspended whilst the disciplinary process began.

During the disciplinary hearing, Mr Raducan “accepted that he had breached the till management policy”, but explained that “he had experienced IT issues, which he had reported, and that the restaurant was sometimes too busy to follow the till policy.” 

The disciplinary process found that the evidence of misconduct – that Mr Raducan had not followed company procedures – was proven and he was therefore dismissed. 

Mr Raducan then appealed, claiming that:

  • “the outcome of the case had been predetermined”;
  • “there were poor working practices in the restaurant”;
  • “that he had been unfairly suspended”;
  • “that he had been treated unfairly to the detriment of his health and that [the employer] failed to investigate properly.”

Specifically, Mr Raducan took issue with certain aspects of his dismissal. Amongst them, he alleged that the General Manager for Pizza Express Jersey, Kris Killianczyk, said to him, “You know what you did, I’m disappointed,” when Mr Raducan was suspended – ahead of any disciplinary process beginning.

He also said that “he had been marched out of the restaurant when he was suspended and that this was both distressing and out of step with how colleagues has been treated.” 

The company insisted that because Mr Raducan was a manager accused of gross misconduct, “it was not appropriate for him to remain on the premises”.

Mr Raducan alleges that the reason for his treatment during the dismissal process and the ultimate decision to dismiss was racially motivated.

The company responded to each aspect of this, saying that “if employees had been treated differently, that might be because they were less senior.”

Ultimately, the Tribunal – chaired by Advocate Claire Davies – found that they “have not seen any evidence that the decision to dismiss was racially motivated and we find that it was not.”

It therefore ruled against both of Mr Raducan’s claims. 

However, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Hilary Griffin, took a second look at the case earlier this month following a further appeal from Mr Raducan. She found that the Tribunal did not correctly apply the law in making this decision. 

Mr Raducan’s grounds of appeal asserted that the Tribunal misapplied the law by failing to establish or analyse whether Mr Raducan “suffered less favourable treatment” than another person of a different race would have.

He also claimed that the Tribunal showed “bias” because it “made findings of fact without having considered [his] evidence, choosing instead to only accept the evidence of” his former employer.

Finally, he suggested that the Tribunal had not considered fully whether an individual involved in his dismissal was “biased” and “had it done so, the outcome of the case would have been different.” 

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Pictured: Mr Raducan will now be able to appeal to the Royal Court, after the Tribunal Chair found the law had been misapplied.

Having considered these points, Mrs Griffin concluded that, if successful, these grounds to amount to a legal argument that “could lead to the judgment being set aside.”

With this in mind, the Chairman granted permission for Mr Raducan to appeal to the Royal Court.

Pictured top: A Pizza Express sign. (Willy Barton/Shutterstock)

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