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Tribunal dismisses racism claim by Le Gavroche receptionist

20 June 2014 by
Tribunal dismisses racism claim by Le Gavroche receptionist

The case of a Le Gavroche receptionist who was suing the two-Michelin-starred restaurant for racism has been dismissed.

Bento Touray, who is Spanish, was let go from Michel Roux Jr's establishment in September last year after only three weeks in the job. She was replaced by a white woman and claimed that this was a decision based on race.

But a tribunal found that the restaurant had not acted in a discriminatory way.

Tribunal judge Professor Alan Neal said that there was no evidence to support the suggestion that the restaurant has any policy or practice of discrimination in any form.

Commenting after the tribunal, Toby McArdle of Abbey Legal Services, solicitors for Le Gavroche on the case said: "We were delighted, although not surprised, to receive the verdict we have always expected.

"We were justified in taking the stance to defend this baseless allegation by Ms Touray to full hearing, and have been completely vindicated on all counts."

During the tribunal Touray said that she had been ignored by Le Gavroche general manager Emmanuel Landré and that it was "apparent" he disliked her.

She said: "I was dismissed because I am black. I was made to feel like one of the oddest employees there. They treated me differently because I am black. Le Gavroche does not employ non-white staff front of house. This was confirmed by comments from my white predecessor."

But Landré denied his sacking of Touray had anything to do with her race. He said: "Since it opened in 1967, Le Gavroche has always employed individuals with many different ethnic identities in both kitchen and front of house.

"The allegation that Le Gavroche does not employ non-white staff is simply not true; in 2013 alone we employed thirteen non-white employees in our front of house team.

"Five of the individuals in the receptionist role since the start of 2013 have been non-white.

"Touray's suggestion that individuals are employed or treated differently according to their race is entirely untrue and without foundation."

Landré added that Touray had been sacked due to a lack of organisation and that she often mixed up guest's property and took them to the wrong tables.

He said: "Due to her poor communication skills she was unable to undertake various administrative tasks or conduct telephone calls. I was very concerned by a failure on her part to be sufficiently personable with the guests. This is an extremely serious failure."

The tribunal found there was no evidence to support the claim for racism and dismissed the case.

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