Saturday, December 28, 2013

British chef who said the word 'golliwog' as he discussed Robertson's jam in front of black colleague is guilty of racial harassment

A chef who apologised after he mentioned the old ‘golliwog’ label on Robertson’s jam in front of a black colleague was still guilty of harassment, top appeal judges ruled today.

Mark McAleese used the word when his back was turned to Denise Lindsay in a discussion about food labelling in the kitchens of the London School of Economics halls of residence, in Bloomsbury, where they both worked.

After 45-year-old Miss Lindsay complained, an employment tribunal described Mr McAleese’s use of the words ‘golliwog’ and ‘golliwog jam’ as ‘unwanted’ and ruled that what he said amounted to ‘an isolated act of harassment’.

That was despite the fact that Mr McAleese had swiftly apologised to his co-worker after the incident in January 2009 and said he had not intended to violate Miss Lindsay’s dignity or to ‘create an intimidating, hostile, degrading or offensive environment for her’.

Three Appeal Court judges today upheld the tribunal’s harassment finding, even though Mr McAleese had spoken with his back turned, in a quiet voice and his comments were not aimed at Miss Lindsay, of Clapham, south London.

Her legal team had argued that the use of the term was ‘inherently racist, whatever the context’.

However, Miss Lindsay was told that she had lodged her complaint too late and that it would not be ‘just and equitable’ to allow her to continue with her compensation claim against the LSE.



Anonymous said...

Sounds like she was just looking for a payout. This P.C. stuff has gone too far!

Anonymous said...

Exactly - the woman was clearly trying to exploit the situation for monetary gain. In any case "gollywog" is a long-established name for a doll and not a person.