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Salesman who was called a ‘fat pikey’ loses racial discrimination claim

David Evans, a technology salesman, has lost his claim for racial discrimination. Evans said he was called a ‘fat ginger pikey’ and ‘Gimli’ by his managers.

Evans was employed at the London office of US based IT company Xactly. The employment tribunal was told that Evans had been dismissed because of his poor performance record, and not because of any racial issues.

A claim for racial and disability discrimination was made by Evans who was a part of the Traveller community at the time. Evans stated that his managers had called him names including ‘jellied eel salesman’, ‘fat Yoda’, and ‘salad dodger’. Additionally, his managers compared him to Gimli, the fictional dwarf from The Lord of the Rings.

Evans explained that his weight gain was due to a combination of an over active thyroid, and diabetes. He said that he had not complained at the time and had joined in with the office banter.

When considering that the words ‘fat ginger pikey’ could have been cause for harassment, Judge Joanna Wade concluded that this was not the crux of the matter. Evans had not been upset at the time of the name calling and was also heard to use the ‘c-word’ during office conversations, which led her to believe that it was unlikely that he would be upset or offended at the comment.

 Judge Wade stated that the loose connection between Travellers and Evans indicated that it was not the comment which had upset him. Evans was upset because he had been dismissed and wanted to find a reason other than his poor performance record. If being called names had upset him so much, Evans should have approached the subject at the time with his manager.

On further examination, the employment tribunal found that Evans had exaggerated the details of a meeting which took place between himself and the company’s vice president for Europe. Evans claimed that this was when he was called a ‘pikey’.

The Central London Employment Tribunal was told by Evans that he had been dismissed after he had mentioned he was thinking of leaving the company. Xactly stated that Evans had been dismissed because he had failed to meet his targets, and his dismissal was entirely on performance-related grounds.

On investigation, the judge agreed with the company that the reason Evans was dismissed was very ‘clear, cogent, and consistent’. Any member of staff who did not meet their sales target would also be dismissed. This was a very clear company policy which all staff were aware of at the time they were hired.

Evans did not agree with the ruling and afterwards told The Times that he intended to appeal. He stated that he never asked to be called a ‘fat ginger pikey’. Evans felt that this was ‘the definition of race discrimination’.


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