26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Call for inquiry over racial bullying

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A black former United Kingdom Public Servant has received a six-figure settlement from the Cabinet Office over racial discrimination allegations and is now calling for an investigation into the Department.

Kay Badu (36) said he had been bullied by white managers during his three years at the Cabinet Office’s Government Digital Service (GDS), leaving him with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and had contemplated suicide at one point.

Mr Badu, who joined the GDS in 2018 as an executive assistant, said he was held back from promotion and described incidents that included a manager using the ‘n-word’ and being asked in front of colleagues why “some black people play the race card when they get in trouble”.

He said another colleague said black people did not get top jobs in Whitehall because they were not intelligent enough, while he was also told by a manager to be careful around one colleague as she had previously been attacked by a black man.

Mr Badu complained to his Department’s human resources and senior staff but said nothing was done until he spoke out at a staff meeting and raised concerns with the Cabinet Office’s Chief Operating Officer.

After raising complaints, Mr Badu said he became “public enemy number one” and was investigated himself, with internal investigators later concluding this should not have happened.

The Cabinet Office reached a settlement in September 2021 with Mr Badu, who left his role at the GDS in the same month.

He said he was suffering from depression, anxiety and insomnia at the time, while an occupational health assessment found a high score on a post-traumatic stress disorder scale. Mr Badu is still receiving counselling.

London, 8 February 2022

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