Northern Ireland

Sizzlers Restaurant chef awarded £15,000 over racial abuse

Sizzlers Restaurant, Magherafelt Image copyright Google
Image caption Damian Anysz worked as a chef at Sizzlers Restaurant in Magherafelt, County Londonderry

A Polish man who was called a foreigner and told to "go back to your own country" by a work colleague has been awarded more than £15,000 by an industrial tribunal.

Damian Anysz was subjected to racial discrimination, harassment and abusive language.

This was while working as a chef at Sizzlers Restaurant in Magherafelt, County Londonderry.

The tribunal found a staff member, June Fullerton, had verbally abused him.

It found she started a whispering campaign in order to isolate him from the rest of his colleagues.

Sizzlers Restaurant has now ceased trading.

The tribunal panel found that the restaurant and its owner at the time, Kate Clarke, had permitted the situation to continue and allowed Ms Fullerton to repeat and escalate her harassment.

In May 2017, Mr Anysz asked Ms Fullerton if she needed any help in the kitchen.

Using explicit language, she replied: "You should go back to your own.... country".

Another colleague confirmed to restaurant managers that Ms Fullerton regularly described the claimant in offensive terms as a foreigner.

When she was asked about the incident, Ms Fullerton said she would potentially repeat the offensive language in future, depending on what mood she was in.

The tribunal also heard that Mr Anysz alleged that in separate incidents, Ms Fullerton deliberately collided with him while carrying a metal tray, and slammed his arm in the door of a kitchen fridge.

In its decision, the panel concluded that Ms Fullerton's abusive behaviour was "vocal contempt for the claimant's foreign origin, and the fact that he had come to Northern Ireland to live and work".

It found that Kate Clarke had "glossed over" an instance of abusive language against Mr Anysz and that nothing had been done until another incident occurred months later.

It also found that the abuse Mr Anysz was subjected to was demeaning and undermining, that he had been left in the dark about any disciplinary action against Ms Fullerton, and that he was made to feel like he was the problem.

The panel said that Kate Clarke's failure to act appropriately "was not an omission, but part of a deliberate course of action, resulting in the behaviour continuing" and that she was jointly liable for what had been allowed to happen.

The tribunal awarded Mr Anysz £14,000 for injury to feelings and £1,200 for the restaurant's failure to provide him with a statement of his terms and conditions.

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