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Discrimination claim at curry supplier sees worker awarded compensation.

A gentleman who worked for Bradford Management Services won his discrimination claim after he was repeatedly told that because he was white, he did not understand the recipes.

Mr Sorby, who worked at Mumtaz Foods in Bradford complained that some comments were ‘stereotypical assumption’ when his managers accused him of not being able to cook Asian food correctly ‘because he was British.’

Bradford Management Services supplies meals to Indian restaurants and supermarkets. Mr Sorby worked for the company until he raised his complaint.

After raising the issue of stereotypical assumption with his managers, his shifts decreased, and he was placed ‘on call.’ Soon after this he was told to empty his locker and return all company property. This move effectively rendered him as dismissed.

Mr Sorby was further informed by his managers that he should look for another job because there would be no more work for him with that company.

At the tribunal his supervisor Mr Akhtar, director of Mumtaz Foods said that he had told Mr Sorby that the company was an Asian food company, and he would have to work faster. This occurrence prompted the claimant to text the HR department with the request that they discuss it with Mr Akhtar.

In November 2019 Mr Sorby raised a grievance about the issue. He claimed that he had attempted to resolve things with HR Manager Mr Silva but had not been successful. Mr Sorby felt that his treatment had been racially motivated.

Several items were discussed at the tribunal regarding the disciplinary procedure at Mumtaz with the tribunal noting that even though they had invited Mr Sorby to a gross misconduct meeting, no witnesses had been interviewed.

The claimant did not receive adequate notification of the meeting and had no chance to progress his complaint.

The tribunal found that there was no evidence to show that employees were inducted or trained in equality and diversity. Neither were there any measures in place to monitor diversity issues in the workplace.

Despite there being no previous mention of problems with his ability to follow recipes, Mr Sorby was told during the meeting with HR that he would not have any further shifts because of his performance.

Even though the claimant worked considerable hours on the zero-hours contract, Mr Sorby was told that if he wanted to receive his week-in-hand pay, he would need to resign. He was informed that the company withheld this from production operatives until they had resigned.

Employment judge TR Smith accepted that Mr Akhtar’s intention was to try to force the claimant to leave the company.

The tribunal also ruled that Mr Akhtar had indeed called the claimant aside on October 16th, 2019 telling him that the company was Asian, and he should ‘go and work for an English company.’

Mr Sorby’s claims for racial discrimination, harassment and victimisation were upheld. A remedy hearing will be fixed where compensation will be awarded.

Direct race discrimination – when can an individual bring a claim?

For a claim of direct race discrimination to be successful the claimant needs to show that the Equality Act 2010 has been breached.

The Act states that direct discrimination takes place where one person treats another person less favourably than they treat other people because of race.

The Act goes on to define ‘race’ as to include:

  • Nationality
  • Colour
  • Ethnic origin
  • National origin

Race is also seen as ‘perceived race’ such as where one person who wrongly assumes another person or their spouse/partner to be of one nationality and treats them unfairly.

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