Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Boss of multi-million pound vegetable wholesaler thought it was 'entirely acceptable' for her staff to call black worker 'golliwog Brian'

Banter was once common in the British workplace but it is risky these days

The owner of a multi-million pound firm failed to stop her staff calling another employee 'golliwog Brian' because she did not think there was anything wrong with the nickname.

Amanda Miles, 40, 'tolerated a culture of racism' at her fruit and vegetable wholesaler, an employment tribunal found.

Brian Ennis was given the nickname and also called 'black Brian' to distinguish him from a white worker with the same first name, the wholesaler admitted.

Another black worker, a delivery driver who was so upset by the racist behaviour that he quit, has been awarded £27,000 in compensation after a panel ruled that having to listen to racist nicknames had 'violated his dignity'.

Roy Morgan told Bristol Employment Tribunal that a colleague ordered him to 'stop speaking that jungle talk' as he chatted to another driver in patois.

And bosses at the firm did not discipline a white driver who said that 'black people should be burnt at the stake like Jews', despite a complaint from an employee with Jewish heritage.

The tribunal awarded Mr Morgan £13,427 in 2011 for racial harassment and recently ruled he should receive a further £14,286 for lost earnings from constructive dismissal.

But Mr Morgan is unlikely to see a penny of his award because the firm has recently gone into administration.

The drivers earned about £300 per week and swearing was common in the warehouse, the tribunal heard.


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