£15k award over racial abuse

It is difficult to construe ‘go back to your own… country’ as anything other than harassment on the grounds of race.

This was the very language used in a Magherafelt kitchen (albeit peppered with a few profanities!) and directed at the Claimant, a Polish national, employed as a chef by the Respondents. 

An Industrial Tribunal in Belfast heard how the Claimant was subjected to verbal abuse by a co-worker who also started a ‘whispering campaign’ to isolate him from the rest of his colleagues.

It was found that the restaurant proprietor permitted the situation to continue, be repeated and to escalate. This included separate incidents where the co-worker deliberately collided with the Claimant while carrying a metal tray, and slamming his arm in the door of a fridge. 

The Tribunal concluded that the abusive behaviour of the co-worker was ‘vocal contempt for the claimant's foreign origin, and the fact that he had come to Northern Ireland to live and work’.

The Respondents’ failure to deal with these incidents ‘was not an omission, but part of a deliberate course of action, resulting in the behaviour continuing’.  The restaurant has since ceased trading.

An award of £14,000 was made for injury to feelings with a further £1,204.88 for the failure to provide the Claimant with a written statement of terms and conditions. 

What steps has your business taken to foster a culture of dignity at work?

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Anysz v Sizzlers NI Limited (The Industrial Tribunals, 28 October 2019)

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