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Sikh employee subjected to racial abuse by Muslim boss

A Sikh employee has been awarded £18,000 compensation after being racially abused by his Muslim boss. He had worked as a forecourt cleaner at a garage and was often given demeaning tasks and made to perform them repeatedly. His boss made him collect things from the cash and carry up to four times a week even when he wasn’t on duty. When he complained that he wasn’t getting paid he was told: “You need your job don’t you? If you can’t go, you’ll lose your job.” The boss referred to his employee as a “lazy low-caste Sikh” and complained about him in front of customers. A co-worker, who was the brother-in-law of the boss, made racial insults about the Sikh’s white wife. The co-worker said to him: “You look homeless. Did your wife throw you out? I don’t know how you can stay with a white woman. They’re not clean and they don’t know how to live. You look homeless.” When the Sikh complained to the boss he was told: “That’s my family member. You can’t do anything.” He was also made to scrape weeds from the forecourt with a screwdriver and made to repeat the task several times. The judgment of the employment tribunal noted that the “purpose was to violate [his] dignity and create a degrading and humiliating environment for him.” He was awarded £7,162 for unfair dismissal and £11,108 for racial and religious discrimination. Please contact Tony Silvestro for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.