Two white staff win payout for race bias

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TWO WHITE male council workers made legal history yesterday by winning a four-figure payout for race and sex discrimination suffered in a female-dominated office.

Ian Short, 51 and James Monaghan, 47, said they were treated as "token whites" when they worked as education officers at Lambeth council. They claimed they were humiliated by their black boss, who treated them as inferior to eight other black women workers. This week Lambeth agreed to pay the men a sum believed to be several thousand pounds ahead of a remedies hearing.

In July, Croydon Employment Tribunal upheld race and sex discrimination claims for both men. It found they had been constructively dismissed in 1996 when they resigned after being interviewed for their own jobs in a "reorganisation".

They worked in "exceptionally hot surroundings", the tribunal heard, as a female worker refused to turn off a heater or open windows even in summer. Mr Monaghan was asked to answer all calls and told to quell an "assembly of discontented students".

Lawyers said this was the first time two white men had won such a case in an office where they were the only white male staff. Frances Silverman, tribunal chairman, said the Sex Discrimination Act applied equally to men and women.