The four claimants had worked for the Unison trade union, and were unhappy because they felt that union leaders were ignoring the opinions of their members. In 2010, the claimants designed a leaflet which featured three monkeys each covering their eyes, ears and mouth; the leaflet read “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”. However, after they distributed the leaflets, their bosses soon accused them of racism against a black union leader.
Following an inquiry, the claimants were banned from having a union position for up to three years. They raised a claim to the London Employment Tribunal; the tribunal judge said that having seen the leaflet “it could not be said that any reasonable person would or should have realised that it would cause racial offence.”
The claimants were each awarded compensation (one claimant received £15,000, one received £10,000, and the remaining pair received £12,000 each).
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