A Polish man who won his case of racial discrimination and harassment at work against his former employer said he is “glad it is over”.
The complaint arose after Damian Anysz worked as a commis chef at Sizzlers Restaurant in Magherafelt from November 2016 to July 2018.
The restaurant is now insolvent and Mr Anysz has found other employment.
Mr Anysz, who took his case with the assistance of the Equality Commission, said he was targeted with verbal abuse from another employee because he was Polish: “There were also incidents like spilling things, deliberately bumping into me and closing my arm in the fridge door.”
Mr Anysz who resigned in July 2018 said: “Through it all, I felt I was regarded as the problem.”
He added: “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.”
The industrial tribunal, in awarding Mr Anysz just over £15,000, said: “The abuse to which he was subjected was demeaning and undermining, and included a clear whispering campaign by one member of staff to isolate him from his colleagues.
“What once had been an environment in which he felt welcome and valued became one where he felt that he was at the mercy of the mood of another member of staff.”
Dr Michael Wardlow, Equality Commission chief commissioner, said: “Damian came to Northern Ireland to work and he was prepared to work hard. As the tribunal found, he was subjected to demeaning and undermining abuse and a whispering campaign aimed at isolating him from his colleagues.
“This case underlines yet again the importance of the good and harmonious workplace, the need for managers to actively manage staff behaviour, and having policies in place to deal with any problems.” These policies need to be communicated to all staff, so that they know what’s acceptable in work, and what’s not.”