Office banter and the Fat Ginger Pikey case

2019-01-25 Jennifer Renney posted:

Office banter and the Fat Ginger Pikey case

In the recent case of Evans v Xactly the employment tribunal considered an employee’s claims for disability and race discrimination after he was dismissed for poor performance. He worked as a sales executive, and failed to make any sales at all during his 12 months of employment. He also had type 1 diabetes and had links to the traveller community. The office where he worked was awash with “office banter” which clearly worked both ways.

Mr Evans alleged that his co-workers had called him a 'salad dodger', 'Gimli', 'fat Yoda’ and a 'fat ginger pikey'. Mr Evans was alleged to have called his colleagues a few choice names too, and the “C” word was bandied about frequently. The Employment Judges must have found it difficult to keep a straight face during the course of the tribunal hearings.

As he didn’t have enough service to bring a straightforward unfair dismissal claim (2 years’ service is the current minimum requirement) he instead issued several claims under the Equality Act 2010, including harassment linked to disability (alleging that the 'fat' comments were harassment connected to his diabetes) and racial harassment (based on the 'fat ginger pikey' comments which he attributed to his traveller community links).

The tribunals rejected Mr Evans’ claims, which were successfully defended by the employer and their representatives, but it could have gone the other way. So if you are having problems with office “banter” or need to know an employer can escape paying compensation to an employee in such a toxic workplace, make sure you get the right employment advice.

Get in touch with us by giving us a call on 01225632240 to speak to one of our experienced solicitors. You can also email us at info@renneyandco.com with any questions.

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