A train worker is suing a company who fired him for questioning “white privilege” diversity training during a conversation with his wife.
60-year-old Simon Isherwood, who works as a train conductor, was fired by West Midlands Trains for gross misconduct.
“After the diversity training held in March 2021, Isherwood forgot his microphone was still on and, speaking to his wife, some colleagues heard him questioning white privilege,” reports Reclaim the Net. “He was then reported by colleagues who were “angered” by the comments.”
“I couldn’t be arsed because I thought, ‘you know what, I’ll just get fucking angry,’” Isherwood reportedly told his wife in a conversation captured on a hot mic.
“You know what I really wanted to ask?… and I wish I had, do they have black privilege in other countries? So, if you’re in Ghana?…” Isherwood added.
Unaware that his microphone was still on, Isherwood complained that the company was “indoctrinating their views” that “implied all white people are racist – but I’m not.”
Isherwood was suspended and then fired after an internal probe found that he “caused offense, brought the company into disrepute and breached our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the Code of Conduct.”
The former train conductor took his case to an employment tribunal where he hopes to win on the grounds of unfair dismissal.
“I am completely shocked, I was at home in my own time talking to my wife, it was a private conversation. I had no idea anyone was listening to me,” said Isherwood.
“I’ve lost my job, my income, my reputation, my health is absolutely shot to pieces. I’d worked there for 11 and a half years and never had anything but promotion, praise and awards and even now I can’t believe it.”
“All I was trying to do was understand the subject better – we had been asked to think of questions so I did exactly what I was asked to do. I said Ghana because it’s something I always used to talk about with one of my colleagues, who is from Ghana and supported me,” he added.
Isherwood is now seeking compensation for his “unfair, unreasonable and unlawful” dismissal, asserting that the real reason he was fired was down to “WMT’s fear of facing allegations from colleagues about my conduct.”
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