Asian food manufacturer discriminated against worker who was told he didn’t understand recipes because he was white.
Mr Colin Sorby (‘the Claimant’), a production operative on a zero-hours contract with Bradford Management Services LLP at Mumtaz Foods, submitted complaints of harassment, direct discrimination, and victimisation at the Employment Tribunal.
The Tribunal heard that on 16 October 2019, Mr Azeem Akhtar, the Claimant’s supervisor, told him that “this is an Asian company” and the Claimant should “go and work for an English company.” This comment led to the Claimant contacting the company’s HR department to report the remark. The Tribunal found that this comment was unwanted, it impacted upon the Claimant’s dignity, and it was related to his protected characteristic of race, therefore, his complaint of harassment succeeded.
On 1 November, the Claimant was called to a meeting with HR Representative Mr Paulo Silva, where there was a discussion about his attendance and performance. Before that meeting, there had never been any issues raised regarding the Claimant’s attendance and performance and he had never been subjected to any attendance or performance management policy or proceedings. On 5 November, the Claimant was informed he was being “placed on call” and that he would not be offered any more work because of his poor attendance and performance. The Claimant was told by Mr Silva that he was English and not Asian and therefore “didn’t know how to cook the food properly”, but there had been no mention of any such incapability at the 1 November meeting. Mr Silva informed the Claimant that the allegations had come from Mr Akhtar and it was his decision. The Tribunal found that the Claimant had been subjected to less favourable treatment and it was related to his protected characteristic of race, therefore, his complaint of direct discrimination succeeded.
On 12 November, the Claimant raised a grievance where he claimed he was subjected to direct discrimination and the treatment was racially motivated. On 25 November, a letter was sent to the Claimant inviting him to an investigatory meeting concerning allegations of gross misconduct. No reference was made to his grievance. At this point, the Claimant specifically stated that he was being victimised and had suffered a detriment as a result of raising a grievance. The Tribunal found that the raising of a grievance amounted to a protected act and the failure to deal with the grievance and indicating dismissal for unspecified allegations of gross misconduct amounted to a detriment. The Tribunal concluded that the reason for the Claimant’s treatment was because of the protected act, therefore, his complaint of victimisation succeeded.