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Wednesday, 17 July, 2002, 11:17 GMT 12:17 UK
Suicide man's family settles claim
Jermaine Lee
Jermaine Lee hanged himself at the family home
The family of a black postman who committed suicide after constant bullying by colleagues has settled out of court with the Royal Mail.

Jermaine Lee, 26, hanged himself at the family home in Hall Green, Birmingham, in November 1999.

His mother Urnell Lee subsequently brought a posthumous claim for racial discrimination on behalf of her son.

In a statement, Royal Mail admitted the actions of some staff at the Aston sorting office had contributed to Mr Lee's decision to kill himself.

'Extreme shock'

An inquest in 2000 recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing how Mr Lee left a note accusing colleagues of bullying tactics over an eight-month period.

Royal Mail undertook the largest internal investigation in its history Mr Lee's death.

The inquiry, in which more than 100 staff members were interviewed over six months, has led to 50 recommendations for change.

In Wednesday's statement, the Royal Mail said: "It was with extreme shock, regret and sorrow that we found the actions of some employees contributed to Jermaine's decision to take his own life.

"He did suffer harassment and bullying at work and there are strong indications that this weighed heavily on his mind, although it cannot be certain to what extent this contributed to his decision to take his life."

The company now plans to introduce a new complaints procedure and new training schemes to tackle bullying.

The statement continues: "Basic human decency and respect for everyone working in the organisation are at the heart of these standards and a clear message is sent to all employees that anything less will simply not be tolerated."

Mr Lee's family won the right to take his case to an employment tribunal in January 2001.

Their solicitor Navneet Patwalia told BBC WM: "The family on the whole are generally happy about how Consignia have taken action in addressing the problems.

"They hope that as a result of the family's fight for justice, no employee would have to suffer the way Jermaine did."


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