British Court Rewards Snitcher Who Overhears Colleagues

Ruby Schembri is a white 35-year old Maltese national who moved to Britain in 2004. She recently earned £750 by taking her employer, HSBC Bank, to court claiming race discrimination because she had overheard a private conversation between colleagues.

Watford Employment Tribunal found both Debbie Jones, a local bank manager, and HSBC guilty of racial discrimination after Ms Schembri claimed that she had overheard Ms Jones say “I hate foreigners” and “I am against immigration” in a conversation with Rosemary Johnstone, a colleague, in April 2005.

According to Schembri:

“Debbie asked Rosemary if she supported the Tory or Labour Party and bluntly stated ‘I am against immigration.’ My ears pricked up and then Debbie added ‘I hate foreigners.’ I was shocked and offended. Debbie made her statement with real conviction. I found Debbie's racist comment to be offensive and very hurtful. I left the room and was on the counter. I began to cry.”


Debbie Jones told the tribunal all she had said was that she would vote for Robert Kilroy-Silk of the United Kingdom Independence Party in the May 5, 2005 general election because he would get rid of immigrants. She denied using the word foreigners. Schembri told the tribunal that she had been upset by Jones’ comments and reported them to her employers. Despite HSBC describing Jones’ remarks as “unacceptable”, she was cleared internally of misconduct and was not disciplined by the bank. She remained at her post at HSBC’s branch in Barnet, North London, apart from a few days’ compulsory “race awareness training.”
However, the employment tribunal in Watford stated that it was reasonable to infer that Jones’ remark showed a “substantial dislike of foreigners.” It unanimously ruled that Jones and HSBC were both guilty of racial discrimination and ordered them to pay £750 compensation to Schembri. The latter, who now works for NatWest, another bank, reacted to the verdict with relief: “I feel vindicated.”
The case is one of the first to find that that a comment not made directly to another person can be construed as racism. Moreover, the court ruled that using the term “foreigners” is racist. The verdict also indicates that the mere fact of “disliking” foreigners constitutes a crime, even if one’s dislike is purely private and is not shown directly in one’s behaviour towards a foreigner.
During the row over the Muhammad cartoons some stated that censorship is a form of politeness because no-one is allowed to insult another person or his (religious) feelings. In contemporary Britain the mere harbouring of negative feelings is considered by some to be an insult to them. Consequently, as the British case shows, this makes it financially rewarding to become informers, reporting overheard conversations to the authorities. British citizens who wish to express their reservations about immigration better be careful and never talk in the presence of “foreigners” – including white Maltese citizens.
People who in the past would have pursued careers as Inquisition officials, as Gestapo or Stasi informers, or as interrogators in Lubyanka Prison, have new prospects. Thanks to the multicultural society they can snitch on colleagues and neighbours.


Pity the HSBC didn't (apparently) have the courage to appeal this. I doubt if a proper judge would see discrimination here. Still, as with all these sorts of reports, we don't know the full story.

Bob Doney

I see an opportunity for some Americans

Based on this case any Amedrican in the UK who hears his coworkers saying nasty things about Americans would seem to have a great chance at earning a swift £750. And I bet that any Israeli would be able to do the same thing too these days

@Francis: Good point

@Francis Turner: good point, but when I bring this up here in Belgium the anti-discrimination lobby always says: yes, but Americans, Israelis etc. are rich and strong, they don't need to be protected. The colored, islamic etc. people are weak and poor, and they need protection by anti-discrimination rulings.

Which proves that all this has nothing to do with racism or discrimination, but everything with egalitarianism and cultural marxism.

is there a higher court?

Makes sense, if only because ‘I hate foreigners’ is not necessarily a racist statement.

Furthermore, Evan wrote that (expressed) racism differs from discrimination. Is that so? Is racism not a form of discrimination on racial grounds?

There is however reason to believe that there should be discrimination (-: between (a) discrimination with legal effects (for exemple not getting a job) and discrimination without legal effects and (b) discrimination expressed in general terms and discrimination expressed towards a certain individual.

As far as we have enough information to conclude, the court failed to clearify the case on three aspects. That would be a serious mistake.

And Luc, the situation you describe could be even worse than egalitarian, simular to the old Latin phrase 'man with disease stand above the law'.

"Racism" is not "discrimination"

The case is one of the first to find that that a comment not made directly to another person can be construed as racism. Moreover, the court ruled that using the term “foreigners” is racist.

"Racism" is, AFAIK, not legally actionable (at least in U.S. courts).  "Discrimination" is, but requires that someone suffer concrete consequences - a lost promotion, e.g.  The only concrete injury the plaintiff appears to have suffered is that she was offended. And so apparently British law is now such that even offending someone is "racism," therefore "discrimination", and therefore agaist the law. What a mess.

You brits are behind on the

You brits are behind on the PC parasitism. In the US she would have been pensioned off effectively for life and the company sued for several hundred million dollars. Might be something you don't actually want to catch up on.

"a few days’ compulsory “race awareness training.”"

Off to Muslim Sensitivity Training with Mrs. Garrison!!!!