For ten years Suresh Deman has cashed in on Britain’s ‘rights’ culture with astonishing effect.
The lecturer has brought at least 40 cases to employment tribunals, usually claiming race discrimination against universities, won £194,500 in compensation, and cost the taxpayer more than £1million.
But his days playing the system appear to be over. In a rare case brought by the Attorney General, Mr Deman has been declared a ‘vexatious litigant’ and banned from bringing further tribunal claims.
Under a High Court ‘restriction of proceedings’ order, Mr Deman must now seek permission from the Employment Appeals Tribunal to lodge any future cases.
However, the action has come too late for the publicly-funded academic institutions unfortunate enough to have received a job application from the 52-year-old finance lecturer.
Five universities or colleges made payouts to ‘settle’ actions to avoid the expense of fighting cases, and four paid damages. The cost to the taxpayer easily runs into seven figures.
Mr Deman, who is married and comes from a Hindu background, has U.S. citizenship and describes himself as Indian-American.
He was a teaching fellow at Pittsburgh University and first got a taste for litigation when he was sacked in 1987 and won £23,000 damages after bringing a successful claim for race discrimination.
His first job in the UK was as a lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast, between February 1994 and October
1995. It ended in acrimony and he received £30,000 after a series of tribunal claims.
His academic career began to stutter when he studied for a doctorate at Bradford University but was offered a Masters—prompting a claim that he was snubbed on racial grounds.
Mr Deman worked for two years at Greenwich University until he was sacked for misconduct in November 1999. But he later received £42,000 compensation after making a series of claims including one that a colleague had made a racially-offensive remark.
Since then he seems to have devoted himself to pursuing dozens of race discrimination claims and appeals.
His usual method is to apply for a job and if he is not shortlisted then he brings a race discrimination claim to an employment tribunal. As well as using his real name he often puts in alternative applications under a non-Asian name such as ‘Phil White’ to compare the results.
He is believed to have applied for at least 1,000 academic posts in the UK.
His successes include £35,600 from the European School of Economics, for not explaining why he was not appointed and a £12,500 payout from Nottingham University for failing to shortlist him.
In granting the order, Mr Justice Underhill said Mr Deman was obsessed he was being raciallydiscriminated against.
But he said in a large number of the jobs he applied for ‘his candidature was very weak’.
He added: ‘He has caused enormous inconvenience, harassment and expense to the respondents.’
Mr Deman, of Eltham, South-East London, has previously tried to justify his serial claims, commenting: ‘I am not doing this because I enjoy it. I would rather have a job, but I am being kept off shortlists because people know my reputation.’
When approached about the banning order he refused to comment and threatened to ‘sue’.