Filipino women win £19,000 in KFC discrimination cases

Maria Galvan, who worked for Herbel Restaurants for nine years, received �10,000
Maria Galvan, who worked for Herbel Restaurants for nine years, received �10,000

Two Filipino women have received payouts totalling £19,000 after taking discrimination cases against fast food giant KFC.

Karen Cahalig and Maria Galvan worked for Herbel Restaurants Limited in its chain of KFC restaurants but left over allegations of racial and sexual harassment and unfair treatment.

The cases were settled without an admission of liability.

Ms Galvan, a general manager who had worked for Herbel Restaurants for nine years, received £10,000.

She claimed to have been subjected to verbal racial harassment; was treated less favourably than staff born in Northern Ireland; had difficulties securing the appropriate rates of pay, and had to endure unwelcome and unwanted sexist remarks.

Ms Cahalig, who worked for KFC from 2007 to 2013 and was a trainee manager, also alleged discriminatory treatment in terms of pay, unequal treatment at work, verbal racial harassment, as well as unwelcome and unwanted gender-based comments.

She received a payout of £9,000.

Both cases were taken with the support of the Equality Commission which has a statutory obligation to monitor compliance with equality laws in Northern Ireland.

Chief commissioner Dr Michael Wardlow said: “This case shines a light on an important area of work for us.

“Race discrimination is consistently amongst the top three types of discrimination about which the commission receives complaints.

“The majority of the race discrimination inquiries the commission receives are about employment or the workplace and many of these involve racial harassment.

“Employers are, for the most part, aware of the laws protecting workers against race discrimination but they must also ensure that they have robust policies in place to give effect to that protection.”

As part of the settlement terms, Herbel Restaurants also agreed to meet with the Equality Commission to review its equal opportunities, practices and procedures and to provide both women with written references.