A BLACK lorry driver was discriminated against due to his race when he was sacked by a haulage company following a minor prang, an Employment Tribunal ruled.

Charles Christopher Barnes was dismissed by Robinsons of Worcester Aggregates Ltd in January last year, said Judge John MacMillan, sitting in Birmingham last month.

Mr Barnes was a driver, employed by the haulage business, based in Besford, near Worcester, delivering to Semex UK at Rugby in Warwickshire.

On December 6 2016, he was involved in a 'minor road traffic collision' at a junction on the A4071, near Rugby, while behind the wheel of one of Robinsons' pink trucks.

Despite having a clean disciplinary and driving record, he was dismissed on January 3 2017.

His employers' told him he was fired for 'gross misconduct' having 'done a careless and reckless manoeuvre'.

Mr Barnes appealed against the decision to sack him, writing in his appeal letter: "I cannot even put down in words how this has made me feel to be discriminated against because of my colour."

When his appeal was rejected he took his case to the Employment Tribunal arguing unfair dismissal and race discrimination.

As the only black driver employed by Robinsons, his lawyers argued that he had been treated worse than white drivers involved in similar collisions.

Lawyers for the haulage company pointed to the 'broad ethnic mix' of employees including East Europeans and two people of mixed race.

Robinsons was 'an equal opportunities employer' and race 'played no part' in the decision to sack him, they argued.

The lawyers also claimed Mr Barnes had displayed an 'arrogant demeanour' during the hearing.

But Judge MacMillan said: "Mr Barnes showed no such demeanour.

"He was certainly indignant and felt strongly that he had been seriously wronged but that was all."

"Mr Barnes' dismissal was both procedurally and substantively unfair," he ruled.

"There was a wholly inadequate investigation and there were no grounds at all for believing that he was guilty of deliberately aggressive and dangerous driving."

"Mr Barnes has been less favourably treated than others have been treated in a wide range of cases in which the circumstances are not materially different from his case," added the judge.

Robinsons 'failed to prove' that they did not contravene the Equality Act, meaning that the 'complaint of direct discrimination on the grounds of Mr Barnes' race also succeeds', the judge concluded.

Judge MacMillan gave his ruling on December 15 2017, but it has only just been published. He directed that the amount of Mr Barnes's compensation should be assessed at a further hearing.