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Employment law: Teacher wins racial discrimination case against Bristol City Council

A teacher of traditional Caribbean dance has won an employment tribunal against Bristol City Council for racial discrimination.

Ripton Lindsay, originally from Jamaica, taught dance classes regularly at Millpond Primary School for seven years before an incident occurred in that resulted in his unfair dismissal.

After separating two fighting children by grabbing their collars, Mr Lindsay was told by the then-headmistress Susan Eriksson, "This is not how we do it in British schools."

He was later charged with assault.

Apart from Millpond, Mr Lindsay worked at over 50 council-run schools in the Bristol area. He was banned from working after the assault charge. He also lost his regular slot on Bristol radio station Ujima 98 FM, his position with St Paul's Carnival and his role on a nursery school board.

Mr Lindsay was later cleared of assault and started a case against the council for racial discrimination.
He claimed that the council had failed him by not investigating his original racial harassment claim against Mrs Eriksson.

After winning the employment tribunal, Mr Lindsay agreed to settle out of court. He received an undisclosed amount in compensation and, more importantly to him, a written apology from Mrs Eriksson and a review of council procedures.

He said: "It would not have mattered if I had got no money at all - it was bigger than that.

"I had recognised a massive failure in the system and it needed to be addressed.

"This was not just for me. I hope what I have done means it won't happen to anybody else.

"The changes and the apologies are more important to me and my family than anything. We are about principle and morality - not money."

Despite his victory, Mr Lindsay believes that his life in Bristol has been ruined. He claims he is a "victim of the situation and will never teach or live in Bristol", and has since moved to London to rebuild his life.

In order to make a complaint about workplace discrimination, it must be done within three months of the incident. This template letter can help when making a complaint about discrimination.

Related links:
Read more on this story (This Is Bristol)
Read about discrimination in the workplace (FindLaw)
Find local employment solicitors throughout the UK (FindLaw)