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Civil servant who alleged race discrimination receives ‘substantial settlement’

Rose Quarcoo worked for the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service in Edinburgh.

Crown Office building, Edinburgh
Crown Office building, Edinburgh

A civil servant who brought a race discrimination case to challenge her treatment in the workplace is receiving a substantial settlement from Scottish Ministers.

Rose Quarcoo, who was employed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), took her case to an employment tribunal in Edinburgh, claiming she experienced a series of acts of direct race discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

Mrs Quarcoo argued that, as a result of this treatment, she developed anxiety and depression, which the employment tribunal found to be a qualifying disability under the Equality Act 2010.

She resigned from her position in September 2019.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) funded the eight-day, final, employment tribunal hearing, which took place on a number of dates in May and August this year, through its legal support scheme.

It said that a “substantial settlement” has been agreed between Mrs Quarcoo and Scottish Ministers.

Mrs Quarcoo said: “Nobody should be subjected to discrimination at work, and I am pleased that my case has now been settled.

“I am grateful to the Equality and Human Rights Commission for supporting my case and helping me get justice.”

Mrs Quarcoo was employed by COPFS from September 2017 to September 2019.

In her role, as an assistant finance business partner, she was responsible for High Court and local court functions.

She claims that she made a number of complaints of race discrimination in July 2018 and October 2018, and that the failure to address these led to her absence from work and ultimately her resignation in September 2019.

Baroness Kishwer Falkner, EHRC chairwoman, said: “As Britain’s equality regulator, our landmark legal funding scheme helps tackle race discrimination and ensures victims across the country obtain justice.

“In this case, our support has helped Mrs Quarcoo reach a settlement with which she is satisfied.

“Every employer should be aware of its legal responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010. In particular, line managers should protect their staff from unfair treatment on the basis of a protected characteristic, including their race or disability.

“Unfortunately, some ethnic minority people still face prejudice and discrimination in the workplace. This is unacceptable. Our legal fund ensures that cost need not be a barrier to taking action.”

The Commission’s legal support scheme remains open to new applications from people who have suffered discrimination because of their race.

David Stephenson, Counsel at Doughty Street Chambers representing Rose Quarcoo, said: “People who experience discrimination may find it difficult to cover the costs of taking legal action.

“Race discrimination cases are often vigorously defended, making them more challenging and funding all the more important.

“The support provided by the Equality and Human Rights Commission enabled a positive outcome in Mrs Quarcoo’s case.

“More successful outcomes can be achieved where resources are made available for race discrimination cases.”

A COPFS spokesman said: “COPFS values its people and aims to encourage, support and protect diversity in our workplaces.

“We have extensive policies in place to promote equality of opportunity and treatment, and to eliminate unfair discrimination in our employment practices.

“We have reached a settlement with a former employee, the terms of which are confidential.”

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