Hello and welcome to another edition of FYV. Due to a recent influx of cases it's been hard to find time to write. But my mind has been full of stories and information that I would like to share.
Today I would like to introduce a topic that we have not touched on before, Modern day slavery!!! This is an underreported but substantial problem, not in Africa or the middle east, but right here in good old Great Britain. In 2015 The Modern Slavery Act 2015 was born. This act enables a court to require that a person convicted of a slavery or trafficking offence to provide reparation to the victim. This is designed to recompense the slavery victim for “exploitation and degradation” suffered.
However, there is currently no power for employment tribunals to order the perpetrators of slavery or human trafficking, which sometimes arises in race discrimination claims, to pay compensation to the victim. An example of this can be seen in the following cases.
Two Nigerian women, Ms Taiwo and Ms Onu, came to the UK on a migrant domestic worker visa to work for couples living in the UK.
Foreign workers on this type of visa are heavily reliant on their current employer, as they have limited leave to remain in the UK and they have to seek approval from the authorities to change employer.
The two women brought employment tribunal claims for race discrimination over their treatment by the couples. Ms Taiwo claimed that her passport was taken from her and she was expected to be “on duty” during most of her waking hours. She said that she was not given enough to eat, and was mocked, slapped and spat on.
Ms Onu also claimed that her passport was taken from her on her arrival in the UK. She said that she was required to work 84 hours per week and was told that she would be arrested and imprisoned if she tried to run away.
Both women eventually managed to escape their situations, and brought employment tribunal cases, including claims for race discrimination. Their race discrimination claims were unsuccessful in the lower courts, on the basis that their former employers had mistreated them because of their vulnerable immigration status, rather than their Nigerian nationality.When their cases reached the Supreme Court, it was accepted that they were treated “disgracefully". But the five Supreme Court judges decided unanimously to dismiss the race discrimination cases because “immigration status” by itself is not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
Lady Hale, who delivered the judgment, highlighted that there is no remedy for all the “grievous harms” that the two women suffered.
In another case a Tribunal found unanimously for Ms Tirkey, in Tirkey v Chandok. The Chandhoks had failed to pay Ms Tirkey the National Minimum Wage throughout the period of her employment; she had been unfairly dismissed; she had been the victim of unlawful harassment on the ground of her race; she had been the victim of indirect religious discrimination; and the Chandhoks were in breach of the Working Time Regulations.
in this case, the claimant was awarded £82,763 for race discrimination, as well as £183,774 for non-payment of wages.
However, the claimant in that case was able to claim race discrimination because she argued that she was discriminated against because of her Indian caste.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal has now accepted that caste discrimination is covered under the race provisions in the Equality Act 2010.
Modern day slavery is going on all around us. If you know or hear of this kind of treatment or if you feel your a victim yourself, please don't stay silent, please,