After her boss asked about her inner chimp during a discussion about the ‘Chimp Paradox,’ a black HR manager lost her race discrimination case.

Lindani Sibanda felt offended that Clinisupplies’ chief executive Paul Cook wanted to know how she keeps ‘the Chimp at Bay’. An employment tribunal was informed.

It was an allusion to the Chimp Paradox,’ a mental management tool that allows you to discern between rational and irrational emotions.

This term was created by Steve Peters, a psychiatrist. It has helped Olympic gold medalists Victoria Pendleton (Olympic Gold Medallist) and Sir Chris Hoy win on the bicycle track.

However, Miss Sibanda said she was unaware and took the questions to the tribunal, claiming that she had been subject to racial discrimination. The tribunal dismissed her case and concluded that the question asked by Mr Cook wasn’t related to race.

Lindani Sibanda was offended when the company chief executive Paul Cook (pictured) asked her during a meeting how she kept 'the chimp at bay', an employment tribunal was told

Lindani Sibanda (pictured), was upset when Paul Cook, chief executive of the company asked her how she keeps ‘the Chimp at Bay’. An employment tribunal was informed.

However, the report did mention that the ‘potential ofence is evident’ and should be considered by managers when discussing this theory. It divides inner emotions into rational (human), and irrational(chimp).

The hearing was told Miss Sibanda earned £37,000 a year working as an HR manager for Clinisupplies, which manufactures and markets healthcare products.

Is there a theory called the “Chimp Paradox”? 

The ‘Chimp Paradox,’ a mind-management tool that distinguishes between rational and emotional thoughts, is called the ‘Chimp Paradox. 

This term was created by Steve Peters, a psychiatrist. It has helped Olympic gold medallists Victoria Pendleton (Olympic Gold Medallist) and Sir Chris Hoy win on the bicycle track. 

The theory divides inner feelings into the rational (human) and irrational (chimp), and aims to help people work out how their mind is working, and understand and manage their emotions and thoughts.

As the part of human beings that acts and thinks for others, the chimp is considered the “chimp” aspect. While the human aspects are rational, compassionate, and humane and represent the true person. 

A briefing session was conducted by the Tribunal to allow attendees to present their ideas for keeping the chimp at bay.

The panel asked employees to reflect on their experiences with chimp moments and how they affected them.

Miss Sibanda was a part of a group that brought ‘cultural changes’ to the organization.

The following was said at the hearing: “One of their tools and that they were teaching to the organization was the Chimp Paradox. We understand… it to be a broadly known theory on mind management.

“They encourage participants to recognize the effect of emotions on their actions, and the effects on other people. This would impact their performance as well as that of the company.

Cook’s comment was made during the one-on-1 meeting. The panel also heard that Cook made it in meetings.

Miss Sibanda admitted that she was initially offended by the expression, but she later said to the tribunal that she understood the meaning and appreciated its use in an established mind-management tool.

However, she said that Mr Cook used the phrase ‘without context’ and it was not used at all during the workshop. 

The tribunal found that she had never complained about using the expression and dismissed her claims to not be aware.

In addition, the hearing heard that a junior employee had brought a complaint against Miss Sibanda in May 2018 over her “oppressive” management style.

The hearing was told that a junior employee raised a grievance against Miss Sibanda for her 'oppressive' management style. This led to a clash with HR director Amanda Cass (pictured), whom she accused of speaking to her in a 'derogatory, condescending and dismissive' way

A junior employee brought up a complaint against Miss Sibanda over her “oppressive” management style. The result was a conflict with Amanda Cass, Miss Sibanda’s HR director (pictured), who she claimed spoke to her in a “derogatory and condescending way”.

The result was an altercation with Amanda Casss, her HR director, who she claimed spoke to her in a “derogatory, condescending, and dismissive” manner.

Following Miss Sibanda’s own complaint alleging that she had been discriminated against racially, her bosses decided she would like to quit the company. They invited her to an open meeting to talk about her future.

However, she was on stress leave for 2 months. In June 2018, she sent her employment tribunal claim letter to her bosses. This form was interpreted by them as her resignation.

Miss Sibanda claimed that she was fired and filed claims against unfair dismissal and race discrimination, harassment, victimisation and harassment.

The tribunal, headed by Sarah George, an employment judge, dismissed her claims and concluded that “We reject” [Miss Sibanda’s]There is evidence to suggest that she did not know (the chimps theory). We also reject her argument that the topic was not covered in the workshop that she attended.

“We know that some people misuse this language and there have been many deplorable instances of racism, including the use of the term chimp by a black person.

“There is a possibility of unwitting offense to be done, therefore it is important to make the context for training this type of person very clear.

“Nevertheless, we believe that in this case it was used in documentation by Paul Cook with reference to psychological theory. It was unrelated to race. She must also have known about and understood the implications of that.

“She could have been disturbed by this phrase’s connotations of racist language, and the company might wish to consider this.

“We acknowledge, and we are all in agreement, that the Chimp Paradox’ psychological theory is widely used to motivate people to recognize their strengths and limitations in many areas of life.

Miss Sibanda will receive £250 for unauthorised deduction from wages due to unpaid long service award.