Rachel Barrett secures Tribunal win for Taoist because of employer’s negative karma


Rachel Barrett represented Mr Yumang in the Central London Employment Tribunal in his successful claims for unfair dismissal, whistle-blowing detriments and indirect religious discrimination. Mr Yumang was employed by Emerald Global Ltd as a ticketing consultant, and objected to the company’s practice of claiming and keeping refunds for customer’s unused flights (including recouping airport duty and fuel tax on “non-refundable” tickets). The Employment Tribunal found that after he raised concerns, his managers treated him in a dismissive and contemptuous manner, and subjected him to detrimental treatment.

On the religious discrimination claim, the Employment Tribunal accepted that Mr Yumang as a Taoist was put to a particular disadvantage by his employer’s practice of having staff claim unauthorised refunds. Although employees of different faiths or no faith might be expected to have a spiritual or moral objection to the practice, Mr Yumang was put in fear of incurring negative karma under his Taoist belief system.

At a subsequent remedies hearing, the Employment Tribunal awarded Mr Yumang compensation, aggravated damages for aspects of the Respondent’s conduct which were “calculated to humiliate”, and an uplift for the Respondent’s failure to comply with the ACAS Code. The Tribunal also made a set of recommendations aimed at improving the Respondent’s employment practices, and ordered that these recommendations be displayed on noticeboards at all Emerald Global Ltd premises for a period of 6 months.

The report of the case can be found at Yumang v Emerald Global Ltd [2014] EqLR 475.