An executive at a recruitment company who was taunted with being a tinker and a ‘gyppo’ has been awarded £283,000 compensation in an unfair dismissal and race discrimination case.
Edward Bell, who is from Belfast but now lives in Manchester, worked for recruitment company Cordant People Ltd, formerly Prime Time Recruitment Ltd.
He claimed that during his employment he was regularly subjected to insulting remarks by his line manager, Sid Barnes. Mr Bell, who has Romany heritage, was told that he looked like a tinker and asked where he had left his horse and cart. He was also told that he was the only person who could wear good clothes and still look like a gipsy.
Mr Bell said the abuse got worse after he raised concerns about Cordant’s £21m takeover of another company. He was eventually dismissed after making protected disclosures about the deal.
He took his case to the Employment Tribunal, which ruled in his favour. It held that he had been subjected to harassment related to race and had been unfairly dismissed for making protected disclosures.
In giving its judgment, the tribunal said: “We found that, at various times, Mr Barnes referred to him as a ‘pikey’ or a ‘paddy’ and said that the claimant (Mr Bell) was ‘scruffy’, ‘dressed like a gipsy’ or a ‘gyppo’ or looked like a ‘tinker’.
“We conclude that all these comments clearly related to the claimant’s Irish origin and/or his Traveller background and that the comments, therefore, clearly related to race.”
Mr Bell was awarded £283, 472 in compensation to cover various factors including injury to feelings and loss of income.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.