Tube boss sacked for George Floyd 'scum' remark wins dismissal claim

White London Underground manager who was sacked for calling George Floyd ‘scum’ on Facebook in series of ‘racially divisive’ posts that deeply offended’ black members of staff wins unfair dismissal claim

  • Tracy Webb lost her London Underground job after a series of Facebook posts
  • Ms Webb won a claim of unfair dismissal on a technicality at a tribunal

A veteran London Underground manager who was sacked after she called George Floyd ‘scum’ in a series of ‘racially divisive’ Facebook posts has won a claim for unfair dismissal.

Tracy Webb, who is white and in charge of an ethnically diverse team of 250 workers, shared ‘offensive and inflammatory’ posts on social media about the Black Lives Matter movement.

An employment tribunal heard the senior manager shared insensitive memes, commented ‘I for one am not sorry he’s no longer here’ and shared an ‘all lives matter’ post asking why people did not riot after the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby.

As a result of posts to her 200 Facebook friends, the court heard that there was an escalation at the Seven Sisters depot in London where Ms Webb worked – with black staff members left ‘deeply offended’ and ‘upset’.

Having served London Underground for 32 years, ‘reckless’ Ms Webb was sacked from her role as duty trains manager in February 2021.

Ms Webb was dismissed from her role of 32 years due to the insensitive Facebook posts 

Her comments came shortly after George Floyd was killed in the US in 2020

In response, Ms Webb – who argued ‘she could not be racist because she has two mixed race children and other black family members’ – took London Underground to an employment tribunal.

‘I’m not afraid to call scum scum’

Ms Webb made several Facebook posts from June 6 to 8 in 2020 in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, a black American murdered by a police officer in Minneapolis, USA, on May 25 in 2020. 

The first post she shared was a meme featuring a photo of Floyd with the words: ‘The media and the left made George Floyd into a Martyr. But who was he really?’

The photo included a list of his alleged criminal convictions and Ms Webb said: ‘Never deserved to be murdered by a police man. But… really was not a nice guy.’

She also shared a post that said: ‘On 22 May 2013, no-one rioted in the UK when two black men hacked Lee Rigby to death. It’s time to bring back the death penalty. Where were you all then? All lives matter.’

The comments were superimposed over the top of ‘sobering’ photographs of ‘Lee Rigby and his black assailants, one of which was taken in the immediate aftermath, with a knife, and bloodied hands’.

In a separate Facebook comment related to George Floyd, Ms Webb wrote: ‘I know the person I am. Not afraid to call scum scum…not due to colour race sex or creed.

‘So wrong he died. But I for one am not sorry his no longer here to hold a gun to another pregnant ladies stomach while robbing her in his own house.’



She argued she was racially discriminated against for being white and that she had a right to free speech – both of which were dismissed at the tribunal.

However, she won a claim of unfair dismissal on a technicality and could receive compensation as the tribunal ruled there were procedural faults with her sacking.

The majority of her Facebook friends were work colleagues and the workforce – comprised of various ethnic backgrounds – was ‘sensitive to race equality issues’, it was heard.

Ms Webb angered her black staff then refused to take the posts down in a ‘deliberate stand’, before changing her mind, it was heard.

She was suspended from June 2020.

At the tribunal at Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, Employment Judge Richard Wood criticised Ms Webb for the posts.

Judge Wood said her comments ‘exemplified her tendency to injudicious language in what she must have appreciated was a highly febrile environment.’

The judge added: ‘In our view, it was particularly unfortunate that she chose to use the word ‘scum’ when apparently having an exchange about matters relating to George Floyd and the BLM movement as a whole.

‘In choosing to focus on the criminal history of Mr Floyd, rather than the circumstances of his death, and what it revealed about historic and systemic racism, she was choosing to ignore the important issue in a way which she knew, or ought to have known, would be offensive and provocative to many of her colleagues and friends.

‘She had not done any research into George Floyd’s criminal history.. She had simply seen some detail about it on the news.

‘She was not significantly concerned as to whether the information on her posts was accurate.

‘Given their potentially inflammatory and offensive nature, we took the view that this displayed a reckless disregard for the effect that [a post] may have, and for the truth.

‘It was our impression she seemed to get most of her ‘news’ from Facebook or other social media outlets.

‘Ms Webb told us that the fact that the assailants in Lee Rigby’s case were black was incidental to the point she was trying to make.

‘We do not agree. She was clearly inviting the reader to compare the public reaction to a white police officer killing a black man, to two men of colour killing a white man.

‘It was our view this was provocative in a racial sense, and highly unfortunate… We also find that the connection between the BLM movement, ‘rioting’, and advocating bringing back the death penalty, was intended to be inflammatory.’

Ms Webb shared posts relating to the 2013 murder of Lee Rigby on her personal Facebook

The furore occurred at the peak of 2020’s Black Lives Matter movement that saw large scale unrest

Ms Webb argued her comments were protected by free speech under the under the European Convention on Human Rights, but the judge said that argument failed because ‘comments which are inflammatory and/or offensive risk falling outside the parameters of free speech’.

Judge Wood added: ‘Her posts had caused a furore, both within the organisation, and beyond.

‘She was a white manager with responsibility for a large team of ethnically diverse staff. Some had complained about her behaviour.

‘There was no apology from her about her conduct.’

Judge Wood said sacking Ms Webb was ‘inevitable’ due to her posts, but said there were flaws in her dismissal.

Bosses in the sacking process unfairly had an ‘attitude’ towards her representative, there was a ‘level of antagonism’ created by her representative putting forward a free speech argument, and her unsuccessful appeal was ‘predetermined’.

She won her unfair dismissal complaint on these grounds and a compensation hearing will take place in the future.

Her race discrimination claim failed.

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