Law firm entitled to withdraw job offer made to “rude” worker

Laptop: Keoghs did not allow staff to use their own IT equipment 

A law firm was entitled to withdraw a job offer from a man who was “rude and difficult” during an online onboarding meeting, an employment tribunal has ruled.

Employment Judge Burge said defendant firm Keoghs did not treat Mr S Lasdas less favourably than it would have treated someone who was not Greek.

He sued the firm for race discrimination and victimisation after withdrawing the offer of a fixed-term IT role.

The purpose of the onboarding meeting was to carry out ID checks, discuss working methods and equipment, and other arrangements before he started the job.

Liza Hill, a ‘talent acquisition business partner’, asked him to send various pages from his passport, but Mr Lasdas “was reluctant to send her the signature page as he was worried about fraud”.

He also did not want to provide additional documentation to establish his right to work, as he had already supplied his ‘right to work’ code and had a recent Disclosure and Barring Service check.

The tribunal said that, although Mr Lasdas was probably right that Keoghs did not need all the documentation it sought, Ms Hill was just asking for what she had been told to get under Keoghs’ policy for new staff.

She also refused his request to use his own laptop, which he said would help establish his tax status as a contractor. But this was also against Keoghs’ policy and the firm’s evidence was that contractors using its laptops still met HM Revenue & Customs’ requirements.

The tribunal found that Mr Lasdas was “frustrated with the responses of Ms Hill”, and that the way he spoke to her was “rude, uncooperative, aggressive, high-handed and patronising”. This was reflected in her contemporaneous note of the meeting.

This said: “The candidate’s behaviour was inappropriate, argumentative, rude and aggressive and he questioned everything that LH said.

“It was deemed by the hiring manager that his behaviour was inappropriate and did not align with the behaviours of Keoghs values and that she therefore wanted to withdraw the offer.”

Dismissing the claim, Judge Burge said: “The tribunal concludes that the reason why the claimant’s job offer was withdrawn was because the claimant was rude, speaking over Ms Hill, refusing to show his passport and because he did not agree to using the respondent’s laptop. His behaviour did not align with the respondent’s values.”

Three of Keoghs’ five values, the tribunal noted, were ‘We listen, are down-to-earth and supportive’, ‘We work together towards a common goal’ and ‘We’re friendly with a can-do attitude’.

The judge recorded that, during the online hearing, Mr Lasdas “repeatedly interrupted and spoke over the tribunal, counsel for the respondent and witnesses to the extent that the tribunal repeatedly had to caution and then mute the claimant so that a fair trial was possible”.

Ms Hill said it was very similar to the way he had been in the meeting.

Judge Burge said: “The tribunal did consider whether the claimant’s demeanour at this hearing meant that he had necessarily behaved as described by Ms Hill but concluded that while it was an indicator that he was capable of speaking in a domineering way, it was important to remember that he was representing himself, felt strongly about his claim and we concluded that more important evidence was Ms Hill’s contemporaneous evidence describing the conversation and the feedback given to the recruitment agency.”

    Readers Comments

  • Alison Lowrie says:

    Refreshing to see a sensible and fair result for once .

  • Dan Russell says:

    It appears that Mr Lasdas is autistic, rather than “difficult”, “inappropriate, argumentative, rude and aggressive”, so of course “he questioned everything”. Employers, and employment judges, and employment lawyers, need education.

Leave a Comment

By clicking Submit you consent to Legal Futures storing your personal data and confirm you have read our Privacy Policy and section 5 of our Terms & Conditions which deals with user-generated content. All comments will be moderated before posting.

Required fields are marked *
Email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Reshaping workplace culture in law firms

The legal industry is at a critical point as concerns about “toxic law firm culture” reach an all-time high. The profession often prioritises performance at the cost of their wellbeing.

Will solicitors finally be fans of transparency now?

Since the introduction of the SRA’s transparency rules in December 2018, I have been an advocate for law firms going further then the regulatory essentials.

A two-point plan to halve the size of the SRA

I have joked for many years that you could halve the size (and therefore cost) of the Solicitors Regulation Authority overnight by banning both client account and sole practitioners.

Loading animation