Woman who brought race discrimination claim against COPFS settles out of court

Woman who brought race discrimination claim against COPFS settles out of court

A woman who brought a racial discrimination case against the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) has settled out of court with the Scottish ministers.

The case was settled after the Equality and Human Rights Commission funded the eight-day final hearing through its legal support scheme.

Rose Quarcoo, who was employed by COPFS, claimed she experienced a series of acts of direct race discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

An employment tribunal in Edinburgh heard that the claimant was allegedly subject to degrading and derogatory treatment by her line manager. This included being set up to fail and assumptions being made about her capability and qualifications based on her race.

Mrs Quarcoo argued that, as a result of this treatment, she developed anxiety and depression, which the tribunal found to be a qualifying disability under the Equality Act 2010. Her employer allegedly then failed to make reasonable adjustments to ensure she was not disadvantaged in the workplace.

The commission’s legal support scheme remains open to new applications from people who have suffered discrimination because of their race.

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, Chairwoman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said: “As Britain’s equality regulator, our landmark legal funding scheme helps tackle race discrimination and ensures victims across the country obtain justice. In this case, our support has helped Mrs Quarcoo reach a settlement with which she is satisfied.

“Every employer should be aware of its legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010. In particular, line managers should protect their staff from unfair treatment on the basis of a protected characteristic, including their race or disability.

“Unfortunately, some ethnic minority people still face prejudice and discrimination in the workplace. This is unacceptable. Our legal fund ensures that cost need not be a barrier to taking action.”

Counsel for Mrs Quarcoo, David Stephenson, of Doughty Street Chambers, said: “People who experience discrimination may find it difficult to cover the costs of taking legal action. Race discrimination cases are often vigorously defended, making them more challenging and funding all the more important.

“The support provided by the Equality and Human Rights Commission enabled a positive outcome in Mrs Quarcoo’s case. More successful outcomes can be achieved where resources are made available for race discrimination cases.”

Mrs Quarcoo said: “Nobody should be subjected to discrimination at work, and I am pleased that my case has now been settled.

“I am grateful to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for supporting my case and helping me get justice.”

A spokesperson for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service said: “COPFS values its people and aims to encourage, support and protect diversity in our workplaces. We have extensive policies in place to promote equality of opportunity and treatment, and to eliminate unfair discrimination in our employment practices.

“We have reached a settlement with a former employee, the terms of which are confidential.”

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