Outcome of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Mr Omer Karim
We have received the judgment from the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in the case of Mr Omer Karim.
The EAT has allowed the GMC’s appeal and overturned the previous findings of the Employment Tribunal (ET) that the GMC had discriminated against Mr Karim on the grounds of race during our investigation into his practice.
Commenting on the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision, a GMC spokesperson said:
‘The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has allowed the GMC’s appeal and overturned the previous findings of the Employment Tribunal (ET), that the GMC had discriminated against Mr Omer Karim on the grounds of race during our investigation into his practice.
‘Subject to any appeal by Mr Karim, this decision means that a freshly constituted ET will hear his remaining complaints.
‘We have apologised to Mr Karim for the length of time that the fitness to practise investigation took us to complete. We acknowledge that it did take longer than we would have liked, and we are sorry about the understandable distress this caused him.
‘While the EAT agreed with the GMC’s appeal and overturned the ET’s findings against the GMC, we remain committed to working hard with health leaders to remove inequalities where they exist. We are absolutely focused on our work to target inequalities and promote equality, diversity and inclusion – both in our own processes, and across the UK health system.
‘We continue to work hard to eradicate the disproportionate referral of black and minority ethnic doctors from employers.
‘We recently carried out a regulatory fairness review, which assessed how effectively we look for the risk of bias in our own systems, and how we can embed better controls to prevent biased thinking. We are already implementing many of the review’s recommendations, and we have made firm commitments to act on the others.
- The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) judgment can be found online.
- The EAT allowed the GMC’s appeal. The judgment included:
- That the Employment Tribunal (ET) failed to engage with key aspects of the GMC’s case in response to Mr Karim’s claims and reached some findings and conclusions at different points which were conflicting and contradictory
- That the ET did not make it clear whether certain complaints had been upheld and failed to explain why it did not accept aspects of the GMC’s case, with the result that ‘two leading counsel were unable to agree on a definitive list of which complaints had actually been upheld, and, in respect of one of them we were left uncertain’.
- That the ET failed to explain what it made of GMC’s response to the statistics relied upon by Mr Karim relating to the overrepresentation of BME doctors in referrals, investigations, and outcomes.
- That the ET must tread ‘with particular care’ when considering drawing an inference of discrimination from primary facts, especially when inferring unconscious discrimination. The EAT also noted that where a respondent (in this case, the GMC) has put forward a non-discriminatory explanation for their course of action, that the tribunal must engage with this.
- The original ET took place at Reading employment tribunal in June 2021.
- The original ET considered 20 allegations of discrimination, four were found against the GMC. It is these four which the EAT has overturned that will now be heard by a freshly constituted tribunal.