AN INDIAN Sikh who was degraded and racially abused by his Muslim boss and colleagues has been awarded £18,000 at an employment tribunal.
Paramjit Singh, a forecourt cleaner at a garage in Greenock, was called a "lazy low-caste Sikh" and forced to repeatedly carry out demeaning tasks.
Loading article content
He was also abused for having a white British wife, with one co-worker saying: "I don't know how you can stay with a white woman. They're not clean and they don't know how to live."
The 39-year-old, of Greenock, successfully sued firm PK Imperial Retail Ltd for unfair dismissal and racial and religious discrimination at a tribunal in Glasgow.
He was awarded £7162 for unfair dismissal and a further £11,108 in compensation under equality legislation.
Following the release of a judgment in the case, Mr Singh,who was represented by solicitor Brian McLaughlin, of Fox and Partners, said he was "very happy" with the outcome of the case. The tribunal heard the garage was bought over by PK Imperial in September 2011, with Sohaib Riaz, the nephew of the owner, taking over as manager.
Mr Riaz forced Mr Singh to collect stock from a cash-and-carry three or four times a week when he was not on duty. Mr Singh never received payment for this and when he complained, the manager told him: "You need your job don't you? If you can't go, you'll lose your job."
The manager forced him to scrape weeds from forecourt slabs using a screwdriver, giving the instruction for him to do it by pointing to the ground with his shoe.
The judgment said: "Once [Mr Singh] had finished Mr Riaz told him 'you've not f***ing done that right, do it again'. He made [him] go over the forecourt again with the scraper a third time. His purpose was to violate [his] dignity and create a degrading and humiliating environment for him."
The tribunal heard Mr Singh was regularly made to repeat tasks two or three times because he was an Indian Sikh married to a white woman.
Mr Riaz also regularly called him "daft" and complained to customers that he was lazy and was not doing a good job. The manager's brother-in-law, Mubashir Hussain, also worked at the garage and also abused Mr Singh.
The judgment detailed one morning in June last year when Mr Hussain asked Mr Singh why he had opened a fresh carton of milk to make a cup of tea.
He told Mr Singh to use milk from another carton which was out of date, while he used the fresh milk.
Mr Hussain then said: "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."
Mr Singh complained to Mr Riaz, but he simply laughed and said: "That's my family member. You can't do anything."
On another occasion, Mr Hussain said to Mr Singh: "You're doing jobs very slowly. You Indian people think you are f***ing hard workers. You are lazy people. Low-caste Sikh man."
Employment judge Mary Kearns said Mr Singh's dismissal was "an act of direct discrimination".
She added that the treatment of Mr Singh "upset and humiliated" him and was "thoroughly offensive".
Solicitor Stephen Smith, of the Glasgow Law Practice, who represented PK Imperial, said: "Our clients were surprised at these claims and are naturally disappointed at the outcome of the tribunal.
"They are currently considering their options in relation to any appeal."