Laura Macdonald | Senior Associate

Don’t Leaf Me Alone

A council worker sued his employer for racial discrimination due to an overgrown pot plant.

Benyam Kenbata, 34, worked with Westminster Council. He alleged that he was deliberately being segregated based on his colleague placing a plant pot on their shared desk.

He then complained to his employer saying it was a form of racial segregation as it “restricted the ease with which he could hold discussions with colleagues”

The employer denied any racial connotations, saying the problem was the “plant had grown too high”.

Mr Kenbata later went to an Employment Tribunal and made several allegations of direct discrimination, racial harassment and victimisation.

The Tribunal found they were “quite satisfied that the positioning of the plant and its growth was not an act of direct discrimination nor harassment directed towards the claimant”.

Mr Kenbata was ordered to pay costs of £10,000, the tribunal found he had “acted in bad faith in making the race discrimination complaint arising from the existence of the overgrown pot plant.”
Mr Kenbata stated “I genuinely believed I was being unlawfully discriminated against”.

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Laura Macdonald

Laura Macdonald

Employment Law Team

“I strive to provide clear and practical advice to clients, focussing on the individual or organisation’s particular circumstances and requirements.”

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