A chemical engineering lecturer has been sacked after claims that ‘Jewish people are the cleverest in the world’ and ‘Germans are good engineers’ in a conversation with a colleague.
Stephen Lamonby, 73, claimed his comments were not racist or offensive because he was using ‘positive stereotypes’ but employment tribunal judges disagreed and threw out his claim for unfair dismissal.
An employment tribunal heard the controversial remarks were made during a meeting with Dr Janet Bonar, his course leader at Solent University in Southampton, Hampshire.
Dismissing Lamonby’s plea, Judge C H O’Rourke said gave three reasons: “While Mr Lamonby sought to argue that his stereotyping (which it was) was positive, such ‘positivity’ is nonetheless potentially offensive to the recipient.
“A Jew – may well consider that as demeaning their personal intellectual ability or hard work.
“Secondly, it could also be simply grossly offensive, as the person may not actually be Jewish, but feel some characteristic is being ascribed to them.
“Thirdly, even if they are Jewish, they may quite properly consider it none of Mr Lamonby’s business.”
Lamonby, who had worked as an associate lecturer at Solent University for six years, says he is determined to appeal against the ruling. “I think the judgement came down to the fact the judge was a woke judge.
“You can’t make any comments [in universities] now because they are totally obsessed with racism…Free speech is totally dead in universities.”
Lamonby made his controversial remarks during a meeting with his course leader Dr Janet Bonar while speaking in the university canteen last March, he argued that people from different countries gained certain skills due to “high exposure”.
The tribunal heard he backed up his theory by claiming “Germans are good at engineering” because they are “exposed to a high level of industry from an early stage in their lives”.