Willoughbys wins race claim

Willoughby & Partners has defeated a claim of race discrimination against the firm by former fee-earning employee Jason Davis (The Lawyer last week).

Davis, who is black, took the action, heard at Stratford Industrial Tribunal, because he believed he had been forced out of the firm.

He says: “The decision is very bad for ethnic paralegals seeking training contracts.”

He claims that another paralegal, who is white, was given a training contract.

Willoughbys says the unanimous decision of the tribunal totally vindicates its position.

The judgment states: “We cannot see that there was any less favourable treatment of Mr Davis by Willoughbys at all. This is the first hurdle Mr Davis must cross to establish a case of race discrimination.

“We are unable to hold that he has successfully crossed this first threshold.”

Barbara Halliday, head of Willoughby's business unit, says: “The accusation of racial discrimination was deeply upsetting to the partnership, which takes very seriously the provision of equal opportunities.

“The real issue in the case was nothing to do with race but to do with the serious difficulties that young lawyers are facing trying to find training contracts.”

Davis says he will appeal against the decision, which he calls “bizarre”.