Overheard comments can constitute racial discrimination
HSBC has been found guilty of racial discrimination after an employee overheard racist comments made by her manager.In a Watford Employment Tribunal, Ruby Schembri claimed that she had overheard her supervisor, Debbie Jones, say “I hate foreigners” and “I am against immigration” in a conversation with another employee in April 2005.
Schembri, a Maltese national, told the tribunal she had been upset by Jones’ comments and reported them to her employers. Despite HSBC describing Jones’ remarks as “unacceptable”, she was cleared internally of misconduct and was not disciplined by the bank.
Jones told the tribunal all she had said was that she would vote for Robert Kilroy-Silk in the 2005 general election because he would get rid of immigrants. She denied using the word foreigners.
However, the tribunal considered her statement from 2005, in which she admitted saying she would vote for Kilroy-Silk because he “would get rid of the foreigners.”
The tribunal stated that it was reasonable to infer that Jones’ remarks showed a “substantial dislike of foreigners.”
It unanimously ruled that Jones and HSBC were both guilty of racial discrimination and ordered them to pay compensation to Schembri.
This is one of the first cases in the UK to find that comments not made directly to another person can constitute as racism.
Fundet via The Brussels Journal