Pilot loses 'racist culture' case against BA

Allegations over offensive cockpit banter led to employment tribunal

A British Airways pilot who blew the whistle on what he called a "canteen culture of racism" among fellow pilots is facing a £4,400 legal bill after losing a battle with the airline at an employment tribunal. Captain Doug Maughan claims he has been continuously victimised by BA since he spoke to The Independent about the casual racism of older pilots working for the company that calls itself "the world's favourite airline".

Captain Maughan, whose wife is Asian, objected to hearing the words "coon" and "ragheads" used in conversation in the cockpit. He had complained to BA's management but, because they did nothing about his concerns, he turned to The Independent. He told the newspaper that older BA pilots casually used racist language in private. His allegations were particularly embarrassing for an airline that operates on every continent.

Captain Maughan, who has 29 years' flying experience, suggested that, because 99 per cent of BA pilots are white and most spend their whole working lives with the company, there was an attitude among older pilots in particular that racist remarks were acceptable.

He lodged his first complaint after hearing a senior pilot say "coon" during a training session on a flight simulator. He also complained that during a flight to Los Angeles, when there was a large party of Saudis on board, the pilot began "an extraordinary rant" in the cockpit about "ragheads".

After the article was published, in April 2008, Captain Maughan said that he was threatened over the telephone by someone who claimed to know where he lived. He said he believed it must have been a fellow pilot, because only someone with access to the pilots' duty roster could have traced him to Singapore, where he was staying overnight. He alleges that when he reported this incident, verbally, to BA, they did not take it seriously. Since then, his relationship with his employer has deteriorated and he has been issued with a final written warning. BA has not yet disclosed publicly the substance of their complaint against the pilot. He claims the warning is part of a campaign of victimisation.

He went to tribunal, representing himself, alleging victimisation under the Race Relations Act but was defeated on a legal technicality yesterday and ordered to pay £4,400 towards BA's legal fees.

He told the tribunal: "There was continuous victimisation, a number of episodes over a period of time, which became more intense after the article in The Independent. I had complained a number of times about the canteen culture of racism in BA."

The judge, Mr David Cockburn, ruled that the tribunal had no discretion to hear Captain Maughan's complaint under the Race Relations Act after he had "candidly" accepted that he had not put his complaints to BA in writing. He also accepted BA's argument that it was "unreasonable" to have brought a case to a tribunal that was not based on a written grievance, and awarded them costs.

But he also ordered a two-day hearing in June so Captain Maughan can appeal against the final written warning from BA. He is expected to fight that by representing himself again, after Balpa, the pilots' union, rejected his plea for legal assistance. BA said Captain Maughan had a duty to provide details of any racist conduct directly to the airline.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all