Union loses appeal over 'three monkeys' ruling
Trade union Unison has lost a case against its former representative at the Tenant Services Authority after a four-and-a-half-year dispute.
Suzanne Muna, along with fellow Unison members Glenn Kelly, Onay Kasab and Brian Debus, was accused of ‘insulting and offensive’ racism after comparing a standing orders committee to the Japanese maxim of three wise monkeys in 2007.
The four produced a cartoon of the committee depicted as the monkeys to portray the saying ‘see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil’ after the committee rejected requests for their issues to be discussed at a conference. But committee chair Clytus Williams complained that the leaflet had racist connotations because he was a black man.
Although the four denied any racist intentions and apologised for any offence they had caused, they were found guilty by an internal investigation of breaking Unison rules around dignity and respect for members and democratic standards in March 2010.
Forty-one TSA staff left the union after it banned Ms Muna from office for three to five years.
The union consequently lost an employment tribunal last year, but decided to appeal the decision. They lost the appeal this week, and could now be left with a £200,000 bill for costs and damages.