R&S Records Employee’s Discrimination Lawsuit Dismissed by Tribunal

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A racial discrimination lawsuit against R&S Records was dismissed on technical grounds last month because the claimant, Raj Chaudhuri, was a freelancer, not a label employee, BBC News reports. Chaudhuri had accused R&S founder Renaat Vandepapeliere—who has released music by Aphex Twin, James Blake, Nicolás Jaar, and more—of various instances of discrimination and prejudice, which the label denied. Vandepapeliere said he was “delighted” with the result, according to the BBC.

Chaudhuri had claimed his tenure at the label had ended with “no warning,” around the time that Vandepapeliere clashed with R&S artist Eddington Again. At the time, Vandepapeliere explained the label’s lack of diversity with a series of controversial comments. In one, Vandepapeliere wrote of a recently signed Black artist: “I hope I have found a full pure breed black artist that I can spend my life with in full focus.” He later apologized for the content of the leaked emails.

After the ruling, Vandepapeliere said in a statement to the BBC, “This last two years has been absolute hell for me and my partner Sabine, my family, and the artists on our record label. My artistic policy for R&S Records has always been inclusive and Raj Chaudhuri knew that. He also knew that allegations of racism would have a devastating impact on me and my business.”

He added, “Differences of opinion over music and artistic direction in a record label are one thing, but to falsely label them as racism or racial inequality is wrong; it undermines the very fabric of tackling racism and makes a mockery of those who are genuinely fighting inequality. Dance music has always been about uniting people through the commonality and love of electronic music, regardless of ethnicity, colour, religion or sexuality.”

Chaudhuri’s lawyer, Lawrence Davies, said in a statement to the BBC that Chaudhuri would appeal the judgment. “We believe it is important that self-employed workers have the benefit of Equality Act 2010 protection,” Davies said, countering the judge’s decision that Chaudhuri was not entitled to the same rights as an employee. The lawyer added, “It is important to note that the underlying substantive allegations of racism were not examined or decided upon by the tribunal.”

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