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Tribunal victory for nurse victimised for raising racial segregation concerns

Barts Health ordered to pay bank nurse whistleblower £26,000 – and give her shifts
Whipps Cross Hospital in London, where nurse Jeyran Panahian-Jand was victimised for raising racism concerns

Bank nurse was frozen out of roster at Whipps Cross after claiming race-based division of tasks and team members

An NHS trust has been ordered to pay 26,000 compensation to a nurse who was victimised for voicing concerns about racial discrimination.

Jeyran Panahian-Jand had been barred from booking bank shifts on a paediatric ward at Whipps Cross University Hospital in London after alleging shifts and tasks were allocated along racial lines to the detriment of black and minority ethnic (BME) colleagues.

Nurse spoke up despite not being personally affected

An employment tribunal upheld the childrens nurses complaint that she had been victimised for speaking up, despite not being affected herself. Ms Panahian-Jand is

Bank nurse was frozen out of roster at Whipps Cross after claiming race-based division of tasks and team members

Whipps Cross Hospital in London where nurse Jeyran Panahian-Jand was victimised for speaking our about racism concerns
Whipps Cross University Hospital in London Picture: Alamy

An NHS trust has been ordered to pay £26,000 compensation to a nurse who was victimised for voicing concerns about racial discrimination.

Jeyran Panahian-Jand had been barred from booking bank shifts on a paediatric ward at Whipps Cross University Hospital in London after alleging shifts and tasks were allocated along racial lines to the detriment of black and minority ethnic (BME) colleagues.

Nurse spoke up despite not being personally affected

An employment tribunal upheld the children’s nurse’s complaint that she had been victimised for speaking up, despite not being affected herself. Ms Panahian-Jand is white.

Barts Health NHS Trust has since apologised for not addressing the allegations more quickly and effectively.

Concern about race-based divisions on children’s ward

The tribunal heard that, while working a bank night shift on a paediatric ward on 11 May 2019, Ms Panahian-Jand joined a conversation about staff being grouped along racial lines, and unfair work allocation. She drew a triangular diagram on a piece of paper to illustrate a lack of mixing, and included some colleagues’ initials.

Tribunal papers stated: ‘The claimant described groups on the ward divided by race: a group of white nurses; a black and ethnic minority group and some nurses who were in between.’

Ms Panahian-Jand later spoke to the ward manager, alleging racial discrimination that included the bullying of two junior staff.

She did not want make a formal complaint, but was not given the option of an informal one, despite trust policy.

The tribunal heard the nurse was asked not to discuss the issues with colleagues, and was told her list of names had upset some staff.

Bank shifts were withdrawn after ten years’ service

However, workplace ‘gossip’ continued and on 30 May Ms Panahian-Jand was told she would not be given any more bank shifts on the ward, where she had worked for a decade.

As it was the only paediatric ward at Whipps Cross, this effectively prevented her from working at the hospital. She had to find work at another hospital, resulting in a longer, more expensive commute.

Ms Panahian-Jand made a formal complaint of race discrimination, leading to a six-month internal investigation that eventually upheld her complaints – trust policy states such processes should be completed within 28 days.

She told the tribunal two bank nurses had made racist remarks to colleagues, and one of them had twice blocked her path in a hostile way in a hospital car park.

A ‘classic case’ of penalising someone for raising concerns

Tribunal judge, Sarah Moor, said the restriction on her working on the ward should be lifted.

The judge said it was a ‘classic case’ of an employer treating a person far too severely for raising allegations.

‘Race discrimination can only be identified and resolved if working people blow the whistle on it, and not necessarily those most affected by it,’ she added. ‘Here the claimant spoke up when she herself was not personally affected.’

Barts Trust ‘committed’ to eliminating discrimination

A Barts Health NHS Trust spokesperson said the organisation was working through the tribunal findings.

‘We are committed to eliminating discrimination and becoming a truly inclusive organisation and are sorry these allegations were not dealt with more effectively or in a more timely manner,’ the spokesperson said.


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