Close menu

In the case of Ms J Campbell v London Borough of Waltham Forest a female barrister unsuccessfully claimed for race discrimination, harassment and victimisation for being called ‘glamorous’ in the workplace.

Ms Campbell, who is a black woman, was introduced by an employee of the Respondent as “the glamour corner” or something similar whilst conducting a tour of the office for a new employee.  In her evidence, Ms Campbell described the experience as “mortifying”, alleging that the word “glamorous” could be deemed inappropriate and belittling in a workplace where she should have been introduced as a barrister or lawyer.

Whilst the Claimant claimed that the comment was connected to her race, she was unable to provide a coherent explanation about why she viewed it as being related to her race when giving evidence. The Tribunal was unable to infer that the reason for that comment may have been race and so the Claimant’s claims failed.

However, the Tribunal did confirm that being referred to as “glamorous” in a professional context could amount to less favourable treatment compared to a more standard professional introduction. It also said that in some circumstances being introduced as “glamorous” in a professional context could be a detriment.

It would have been interesting to see what the outcome of the case would have been if the Claimant had alleged sex discrimination as opposed to race, as the Tribunal would have had to consider whether the word glamorous was deemed gender specific language associated to women. Had the Claimant brought this claim she may well have succeeded.

This case highlights the importance of up to date discrimination training and ensuring that all staff are aware of the potential risks of comments they make, even if they are well intended.

Paul Hennity

Paul Hennity

Employment Law Senior Associate Solicitor

Paul provides pragmatic and commercial advice to both employers and employees and is highly experienced in dealing with claims in the employment tribunal and negotiating settlement agreements.

arrow icon