Worker called 'lazy old white guy' awarded £20k compensation

A worker who was called a “lazy old white guy” by a black colleague has been awarded £20,000 after bringing a discrimination claim.

The Employment Tribunal heard evidence that Barry Moore, who is 55, was often told by younger co-workers that he was too old to do his job at the Sean Pong Tyres recycling business in Rotherham.

Moore worked as a tyre grader. He was one of two white workers; the owner, Sean Frimpong, and another employee, Desmond Owusu, were of Ghanaian origin.

Moore and Owusu had worked together for several years but their relationship deteriorated in 2020, when Moore complained about Owusu for allegedly calling him a “gay white man” and a “lazy w***er” who was too old to do his job.

The company concluded that the comments were merely work banter and had been reciprocated by Moore. Owusu said they often swore at each other but never used any racist language.

Moore said the jibes were more than just banter and had caused him “many days of stress, upset, and sleepless nights and loss of appetite”.

He resigned, saying the situation affected his mental health and gave him no choice but to move on and seek medical help.

He took his case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, which found in his favour.

The tribunal noted that Owusu had “accepted he did enjoy winding Mr Moore up”.

Judge Eoin Fowell said the comments went beyond banter and that Moore found them intimidating. He was the victim of constant harassment and bullying that forced him to leave his job.

Judge Fowell added: “It is clear that the abusive remarks were on a regular basis. Hence the resignation was a constructive dismissal and an act of direct discrimination on grounds of age and race.”

Moore was awarded £20,000 compensation.

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