Racist punchlines could KO colleges

March 7, 1997

COMEDIAN Bernard Manning's conduct at a Round Table function could have knock-on effects for universities and colleges, legal experts have warned.

Two black waitresses were awarded undisclosed damages last month for racial harassment after the blue comic subjected them to racist remarks at the City of Derby Round Table dinner.

The damages were awarded not against Mr Manning but against the waitresses' employers, De Vere Hotels, even though they had not sanctioned the harassment.

Lawyers at solicitors Beachcroft Stanleys say this could cause problems for education institutions which lend out their premises. It means students and staff offended by racist or sexist remarks by anyone using university facilities could have legitimate claims against the institution.

They advise universities to ask for an undertaking from anyone wanting to use rooms for a meeting, campaign stall or dinner that they will not commit any racial or sexual harassment and that they will pay for any loss caused if the promise is breached.

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