The Secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt who was sacked by Hammersmith and Fulham Council after participating in a counter-demonstration against a Jewish community protest against antisemitism in the Labour Party has won his job back with a considerable payment of damages.
A judge has ruled that Stan Keable, a Public Protection and Safety Officer at the London council, was unfairly dismissed after he got the sack following his participation in a counter-demonstration with Jewish Voice for Labour, an antisemitism-denial group and sham Jewish representative organisation.
Mr Keable was expelled from Labour in 2017 and is Secretary of Labour Against the Witchhunt, an antisemitism-denial group that was proscribed by the Labour Party earlier this year.
Mr Keable was videoed in an exchange with a protester at a Jewish community rally against Labour antisemitism in March 2018. During the exchange, Mr Keable apparently said that “the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis,” and the video was uploaded to social media by a journalist and viewed almost 80,000 times.
Mr Keable was identified as an employee of the Labour-led council, whose leader called on officials to act swiftly. Mr Keable was reportedly suspended on the same day for “offensive” comments and dismissed two months later.
However, an employment tribunal judge heard that the Council accepted the contention that Mr Keable’s comments were not antisemitic and that Mr Keable had made the comments in a private capacity, had not published them himself and had not made them in a threatening or abusive manner, but that he was nonetheless dismissed because he had been identified as an employee of the Council and that a “reasonable person” would interpret the comments as meaning that the Zionist movement had “colluded with the Holocaust [sic]”.
The judge, however, determined that there was no evidence that the comments had been interpreted in this way, a ruling upheld last week by the employment appeal tribunal.
The Council was not only ordered to repay £70,000 in damages to Mr Keable but also, in an unusual decision, ordered to reinstate him.
Mr Keable said: “I want to go back to work. If I’d made offensive remarks at work, we’d be talking a different story. I’m quite willing to accept that some people were offended but that’s not a crime or a sin – it’s a necessary part of free speech.”
Hammersmith and Fulham council said: “As a public body we always expect the highest levels of conduct from our employees. We are therefore disappointed with the judgment.”
The Council is reportedly considering its options, as if it refuses to reinstate Mr Keable, it will have to pay further compensation.
Image credit: Twitter