It never rains but...the woes of the RLC continue

#1
I'm not sure if this item has already been commented upon but just in case you missed it in the papers last week, the woes of the RLC appear to continue, as reported in the Daily Telegraph....

Sergeant rebuked for his watchstrap wins racism case
(Filed: 19/02/2004)


A soldier who was reprimanded by his commanding officer over the colour of his watchstrap has won a case of racial discrimination against the Ministry of Defence.

Sgt Bevan Walcott, the only black soldier serving with his squadron in Germany, claimed that he was refused promotion because of his colour.

When he made a complaint about racial bias, an officer tore his written allegations up in front of him, an employment tribunal in Sheffield heard.

Sgt Walcott, 42, a father-of-three, said that, while he was serving with 1 General Support Regiment Royal Logistics Corps (sic; this should read 2 Close Support Regiment but it's close enough for a journo!) in Germany, his squadron commander, Major Neal Jouques, rebuked him during a meal for the brightness of his yellow and brown watch strap.

He added that both his regimental commanding officer, Lt Col Nigel Start, and his adjutant, Capt Kier Head, were involved in discriminatory acts.

Sgt Walcott, who joined the Regular Army in April 1983 and has served in the Gulf, Turkey, Iraq and Bosnia, told the tribunal that until Major Jouques became his commanding officer in November, 1997 he received glowing annual reports. "He told me he would not have me as a staff sergeant," Sgt Walcott said. "I was speechless. I felt utterly devastated."

He said that, when Lt Col Start ripped up his report, "he was demonstrating that neither he nor the Army would tolerate me making a complaint of racial discrimination".

The tribunal found that Major Jouques was not guilty of racial bias but that there was discrimination in the way Lt Col Start and Capt Head handled Sgt Walcott's complaints.

A hearing to decide on compensation has yet to be held.
Sounds like a hefty pay day for the good Sergeant! :?
 
#2
Pay day maybe, but it does show that you have to be really careful. You may be able to be honest with a soldier and say that you wouldn't have them in an appointment (for whatever reason) as long as they are white, male and prodestant.

If they happen to be from any other racial group, female or from a different religious background then you said it because of that and no other reason..... at least that's what they seem to think.

Now what we have to figure out is if it's because a) It's a case of low self esteem, b) grabbing any chance of a nice payday, or c) that they can.

And before anyone jumps down my throat..... I am not racist, sexist or a religious bigot, but I always thought equality meant everyone should be equal, not that the majority have to tiptoe around minorities!
 
#3
I know where you're coming from, but ripping up a complaint is out of order. Granted there is a lot of tip toeing round minorities, but there is also a lot of disgraceful behaviour. And in my opinion, it all needs to be treated seriously just in case. It's just a shame that we get the odd case of people making it up to cover for the fact that they aren't up to scratch.
 
#4
If the CO isn't going to promote him, he should shut the fcuk up and work harder to earn his CO's respect. Wonder if i could try "my CO won't promote me because im taller than everyone else, i feel hurt by the fact he singles me out due to my height. compo please" :roll:

Its getting silly when people start playing the race card at every opportunity. Clearly there are valid circumstances but this one just smacks of the PC brigade taking it to far. Maybe the reason he wasnt promoted is because his current CO doesnt give a toss about race and promotes on merit??
 
#5
RangiRam said:
A soldier who was reprimanded by his commanding officer over the colour of his watchstrap has won a case of racial discrimination against the Ministry of Defence.
Well it's just a thought, but if you are going to buck the system and wear a bright watchstrap in uniform and get reprimanded for it, something I've seen happen many times but normally by junior ranks not SNCO's, you should not be surprised when your not promoted or even that you're told that your not currently going to be considered for promotion. The fact that it's grounds for a case of race discrimination is laughable. Or it would be if it wasn't a sad reflection of society today.
 
O

one_flew_over

Guest
#6
Strange - instead of a redress at the time he has a court claim some years later. Surely we have enough checks and balances that if you are being genuinely discriminated against someone will help if you if you shout. EOIT etc exist and are there to sort out genuine cases.

It will be interesting, if he wins, to see if the award is in anyway close to the actual loss he suffered - ie the difference in Sgt - Staff pay and pension backdated or if he gets a megabuck politiclly correct payout.
 
#7
A_team_lewis said:
I know where you're coming from, but ripping up a complaint is out of order. Granted there is a lot of tip toeing round minorities, but there is also a lot of disgraceful behaviour. And in my opinion, it all needs to be treated seriously just in case. It's just a shame that we get the odd case of people making it up to cover for the fact that they aren't up to scratch.
I'm sorry but are you actually a serving soldier? I'd just like to know where there is a 'lot of disgraceful behaviour'.

Is this something which goes on in the UOTC or the cadets?
 
#8
one_flew_over said:
Strange - instead of a redress at the time he has a court claim some years later. Surely we have enough checks and balances that if you are being genuinely discriminated against someone will help if you if you shout. EOIT etc exist and are there to sort out genuine cases.

It will be interesting, if he wins, to see if the award is in anyway close to the actual loss he suffered - ie the difference in Sgt - Staff pay and pension backdated or if he gets a megabuck politiclly correct payout.
Wonder if he was 'higher' or 'lower' band?
 
#9
I agree its getting ridiculous, whether this Sgt is black white asian or a lesbian crossdresser has nothing to do with his failure to be promoted he is obvious regarded as a bit of a knob and therefore unworthy to be promoted at this time he therefore has to pull his finger out and stop crying racism everytime something doesnt go his way.

Now i am not saying that racism doesnt exist in the army, of course it does and it is still a major problem that needs urgent addressing. However cases like this hamper progression and sometimes can set it back, for example if this Sgt gets promoted his subordinates may think it is because he is black and therefore may resent him.
 

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