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Listed law firm’s chief executive used racially offensive term

  • February 20, 2023

Tribunal: Delay in progressing claim not fatal

The former chief executive of listed London law firm Rosenblatt used a highly offensive racial term at a dinner attended by a Black lawyer, an employment tribunal has revealed.

Nicola Foulston was sacked by RBG Holdings – the firm’s listed entity, of which she was also chief executive – just last week, in part because of “culture concerns”. It is not known whether the two events are connected.

The decision was handed down on 20 January but only published yesterday.

Employment Judge Brown in London was ruling on an unsuccessful attempt by the firm to strike out a claim brought by former head of employment Noel Deans.

Mr Deans launched proceedings in February 2020 claiming unfair dismissal, race discrimination, whistleblowing protection, victimisation, harassment and failure to provide a safe place of work.

He is suing the law firm, Ms Foulston, founder and senior partner Ian Rosenblatt, and director and compliance officer Anthony Field.

Judge Brown said the respondents admitted that Ms Foulston “used at a dinner (in front of the claimant) the phrase ‘n***er in the woodpile’”.

They also admitted that, after Mr Deans alleged in his resignation letter that he had suffered race discrimination, Mr Rosenblatt said to him that he was “just a f***ing anti-Semite”. Mr Rosenblatt then raised a grievance against Mr Deans because he thought Mr Deans’ “suggestion that he was racist was untrue”.

Speaking to Legal Futures, Mr Rosenblatt said he had called out Ms Foulston’s language at the dinner and spoke the words in response to something Mr Deans had said.

We have approached both Ms Foulston and Mr Deans for comment.

Mr Rosenblatt said they were strongly contesting the claim – which he said was at its core a constructive dismissal dispute – and noted

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