£25k award for longest-running race discrimination case

Employers at a college in Shopshire have been required to pay more then £25,000 to settle what is understood to be the UK’s longest running race discrimination case.

Dr Aham Abegeze claimed that Shrewsbury College of Arts and Technology had acted unfairly toward him in 1999 when he was passed over for a college lectureship.

The expert in space engineering was interviews by the college in September 1999 but had his lectureship refused.

An employment tribunal subsequently found in the following November that Dr Abegeze had been the victim of race discrimination. However, the race discrimination case fell dormant for a number of years as the claimant, suffering from depression, failed to pursue the claim.

After many years of non-action an employment tribunal struck out Dr Abegeze’s claim for compensation on the grounds that a fair trial was no longer possible given the delay. However this is overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2009.

In January 2012 an employment tribunal hearing in Birmingham awarded Dr Abegeze £25,787 in damages.

However Dr Abegeze was disatisfied with the result, arguding that the race discrimination case had resulted in devastation for his academic career as well as his health. In response to the £25k award he insisted he should have received compensation upwards of £1 million.

Dismssing his challenge, the judge informed Dr Abegeze that his 7-figure claim for compensation was “way outside the range” and “out of the question”.

Dr Abegeze still has the opportunity to pursue his claim in the Court of Appeal.