White employee was discriminated against
A white employee has won a race discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal after being repeatedly teased about being English by Asian employees. The transport administrator was one of five white British employees out of 16 staff.
The tribunal found that he was the victim of race discrimination and harassment and ordered his former employer to pay him £2,500 compensation.
While the company claimed staff had ‘just been joking’, the panel disagreed, adding in its ruling: “Many extremely unpleasant behaviours can be dressed up as jokes but it is no excuse”. The tribunal found that the employee was the victim of numerous discriminatory comments made by his fellow colleagues, including that senior employees had said, ‘English drivers drive slowly’ and that the English were workshy.
At the tribunal another employee had argued that the comments were ‘mere jokes’ made by colleagues by his ‘perceived friends’ and that the employee would ‘join in’ but when he was dismissed, amid concerns about performance, attendance and time keeping the employee felt that the real reason was his race.
The Tribunal ruled that the comments were serious in that they created a “hostile and/or intimidating environment” because they were made by a number of senior individuals, over a period of time, repeated and in a workplace in which the claimant was a minority.
The employee was awarded £2,500 for injury to feelings and a further £961.74 for a breach of employment law.