Veale Wasbrough loses ‘Basil Fawlty’ discrimination claims for RCGP

Veale Wasbrough Vizards associate Michael Hasley has unsuccessfully defended the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) against a claim of sexual harassment and discrimination from a former employee.

Claims of unfair dismissal and racial discrimination from the same former employee were not successful.

The Central London Employment Tribunal heard that French porter Appadoure Basile, who was nicknamed Basil Fawlty by colleagues at the RCGP, was sworn at and mocked with crude sexual hand gestures.

Workmates would shout “Basil” at him in the style of the character Sybil in the TV comedy Fawlty Towers. His boss, manager Nicholas Rogers, also dubbed him Inspector Clouseau after the bumbling Steve Martin character in the recent Pink Panther movies.

The tribunal heard the nicknames created a humiliating environment for Basile, who was represented by the Free Representation Unit.

Basile, who was made redundant from his role at the RCGP’s headquarters in 2010, failed in an unfair dismissal claim against the RCGP. The tribunal also ruled that he was too late to succeed in a claim of racial discrimination.

However, the RCGP and Rogers were found guilty of sexual harassment and discrimination.

The panel will reconvene in June to rule on the level of damages Basile will receive from the college, whose patron is the Duke of Edinburgh.

An RCGP spokesperson said: “The RCGP appealed the case on one small technical point, which was deemed several years out of date. Costs to the college have been kept to a minimum on this issue as it was also able to use in-house expertise on the case.”

Hasley led the case himself and did not instruct counsel.