Polish chef wins £15,000 payout after suffering racist abuse while working in restaurant

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer
Damian Anysz was racially abused while working as a chef in Northern Ireland (PA)

A Polish chef who suffered racist abuse while working in a restaurant in Northern Ireland has been awarded £15,000 at an industrial tribunal.

Damian Anysz, who worked at Sizzlers restaurant in Magherafelt, said it had been hard speaking about the case during the tribunal and was glad it was over.

Mr Anysz said he had initially enjoyed working at the establishment but later suffered racist abuse from colleagues.

The tribunal decision document names co-worker June Fullerton as making racist remarks to Mr Anysz.

He claimed Fullerton had used foul language as she told him to "go back to his country”.

"Over the next few months, she kept up the abuse - all because she didn't like that I am Polish and came here to work and live," he said.

"There were also incidents like spilling things, deliberately bumping into me and closing my arm in the fridge door.

"There was a very bad atmosphere in work, a lot of whispering behind my back and I did think about resigning.”

Mr Anysz worked as a commis chef at Sizzlers, which later closed during insolvency, from November 2016 to July 15, 2018.

Mr Anysz worked as a commis chef at Sizzlers, which later closed during insolvency (Google)

After he first complained about the situation, he said initially nothing was done.

"I wasn't believed until a local member of staff confirmed that what I said was right," he said.

In November 2017 Ms Fullerton was suspended on full pay and invited to a formal disciplinary meeting about the swearing incident. She was reinstated on December 21 and returned to work with no notice or explanation to Mr Anysz.

The tribunal found that Mr Anysz was subjected to "abuse that was demeaning and undermining”.

It said it was satisfied that the failure of management to act appropriately was "not an omission, but part of a deliberate course of action, resulting in the behaviour continuing, albeit in a less overt form”.

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Mr Anysz took his case with the assistance of the Equality Commission.

"It was hard having to talk about all this to the tribunal. I am very glad it is all over and that I had the help of the Equality Commission," he said.

Mr Anysz has been awarded just over £15,000 by the Industrial Tribunal, £14,000 of which is for injury to feelings.

Dr Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission, said the case underlines the importance of a good and harmonious workplace and the need for policies to deal with problems.

He added: "These policies need to be communicated to all staff, so that they know what's acceptable in work, and what's not."

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