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Soldier wins racism claim against British Army after superiors confused him with only other black sergeant in unit

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A soldier has won a racism claim against the Ministry of Defence after being confused with the only other black sergeant in the unit.

Sergeant Randy Date, a veteran of conflicts in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, was given a poor report for his performance on a training course that he had not even attended.

The event was actually lead by another soldier of the same rank, who was also black.

After taking time off due to suffering from PTSD, Sgt Date transferred to the Training Wing of the Military Corrective Training Centre in Colchester, Essex.

There were nine sergeants employed in the Training Wing, but Sgt Date and another soldier, Sgt Masoud Rashid, were the only ethnic minorities.

The offending report accused Sgt Date of being “badly prepared” and “heavily reliant on course notes”.

It also implied that he was lazy, reading: “Date simply did what was asked of him and was happy to do the minimum expected of him.”

After suspecting he had been confused for Sgt Rashid, he angrily rang the officer who wrote the report, named in the tribunal as Flight Lt Taylor, accusing him of racism.

Flight Lt Taylor claimed he had been confused by what classroom the training session had been taking place in.

However the tribunal found it was unlikely Flight Lt Taylor was even present at the time of the incident and was relying on feedback from another officer who was actually there.

Mr Steve Elliott, who was Sgt Major at the time, had actually carried out the assessment.

When Sgt Date complained to Flight Lt Taylor on 16 January 2018 the lieutenant informed a superior named Lt Colonel Nowell who replied: “I’m not been held to ransom by Sgt Date holding up the racist card.

“It’s utter rubbish and the sole defence of an otherwise under-performing SNCO (senior non-commissioned officer).

“He may have issues but I need to take a strong but defensible line with people like him to drive up the standard of our staff.”

Employment Judge George Burgher concluded: “We conclude that Flight Lt Taylor and Mr Elliott criticised the Claimant’s performance on a course that he did not carry out, the Right Turn Course. This course was carried out by the only other black sergeant in the Training Wing, Sgt Rashid…

“Therefore Sgt Date’s claim for race discrimination in this regard succeeds.”

The tribunal found although it might be a “sad reality” that black individuals from Caribbean Islands are wrongly perceived by some in the army to be in some way lazy, the assessment by Flight Lt Taylor was not based on these stereotypes.

A hearing will be held on December 12 to decide what compensation or other remedy Sgt Date is entitled to.

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