Harassment in employment?: Ali v Heathrow Express

Background

Anis Ali, a Muslim, worked for the Heathrow Express which was at the relevant time run by the first respondent, Heathrow Express Operating Company Ltd. The second respondent, Redline Assured Security Ltd, was responsible for carrying out security checks at the airport and the Heathrow Express stations. The checks involved creating and leaving suspicious objects to test how security officers responded to them, and in August 2017 it carried out a test using a bag containing a box, some electric cable and, visible at the top, a piece of paper with the words “Allahu Akbar” written in Arabic. Subsequently, the Operating Company sent an e-mail reporting on the results of the test and including images of the bag and the note to a group of employees – including Mr Ali.

Mr Ali complained to an employment tribunal that Redline’s conduct had amounted either to direct discrimination against him or to harassment by reference to his religion as defined in the Equality Act 2010 and that because Redline had acted as the Operating Company’s agent both respondents were liable to him for their conduct. Continue reading