Woman with afro asked ‘what electrical sockets she touched to make her hair like that’


Donna Phillips was twice subjected to the ‘offensive’ remark that her afro was the result of an electric shock while working at a construction company

The black woman complained after she was subjected to the 'offensive' remarks
The woman complained after she was subjected to the ‘offensive’ remarks

A black receptionist with an afro has won a race discrimination claim after colleagues asked her ‘what electrical sockets she touched to make her hair like that’.

Donna Phillips complained after she was twice subjected to the ‘offensive’ remark that her afro was the result of an electric shock.

She was one of only two black employees at the construction company and also complained after a colleague used the N-word ‘seven times’ to work.

Now, an employment tribunal has ruled the comments about her hair amounted to racial discrimination – stating the same comment ‘would not have been said’ to a white employee.

Miss Phillips, who sued London-based Ballymore Construction Services, is now in line to receive compensation.

Receptionist Donna Phillips won an employment tribunal against London-based Ballymore Construction Services (stock image)
(

Image:

Google Maps)

The employment court heard Miss Phillips began work at Ballymore in March 2018 as a receptionist and administrator.

Miss Phillips was one of two black employees on the site and the court heard there were also two employees of Indian origin as well as several European employees

Six months into her new job, Miss Phillips sent an email to bosses complaining about a racist remark made by Paul McStoley in July 2018 and another offensive comment made by Moiz Zahid in August 2018.

A court report said: “The comments were similar and remarked about what electrical sockets Miss Phillips had touched to make her hair like that.

“Miss Phillips has an afro and the court found these comments were made when she had her hair untied and open.”

In the same email Miss Phillips also complained to bosses about a Spanish employee, Isobel Perez, using the ‘N-word’ seven times in the context of asking her, ‘I have heard it is wrong to use the N-word’.

Miss Phillips advised bosses the team could benefit from ‘diversity training’ because of the incidents she had raised (stock image)
(

Image:

GettyImages)

The London South court heard Miss Phillips advised bosses the team could benefit from ‘diversity training’ because of the incidents she had raised.

She later sent another email to bosses, complaining her concerns were not being ‘addressed properly’ and raising additional concerns such as ‘being blamed for IT errors’ and ‘being accused of being aggressive’.

She raised a grievance which was dismissed, apart from one aspect relating to one of the Afro comments – which was deemed ‘indirectly discriminatory’.

Miss Phillips resigned in January 2019 and won her claims of race discrimination relating to the remarks about her hair.

Miss Phillips resigned in January 2019 (stock image)
(

Image:

Getty Images/Westend61)

Employment Judge Omar Khalil said: “The court concluded that the comment was less favorable treatment of Miss Phillips because of her race compared with a hypothetical white employee.

“The [electrical sockets] comment, even as a joke and in the context of Mr McStoley’s own hair, would not have been said to a white employee.

“The remark was made because Miss Phillips was black and wearing her afro hair out. For the same reasons, Mr Moiz Zahid’s comparable comment to that of Mr McStoley’s was also race discrimination.”

Miss Phillips received an apology from Mr Zahid, it was heard.

Judge Khalil said Ms Perez’s use of the N-word, although offensive, it did not amount to discrimination.

The judge said: “In relation to Isobel Perez’s use of the N-word, the court was unanimous in its view that the word was an inappropriate and offensive term.

“However, the court was not satisfied that Miss Phillip’s description of the event and the repetitive use of the word (7 times) was plausible.

“It was, in the tribunal’s view, an inquisitive and perhaps naive inquiry from someone who spoke Spanish first, English second.”

Miss Phillips will be awarded compensation at a later date.

Her other claims relating to race discrimination, direct sex discrimination, victimisation, sexual and racial harassment and disability discrimination all failed.

Read More

Read More




www.mirror.co.uk

See also  Proud Kym Marsh walks red carpet with her 'hero' dad as he battles incurable cancer

Related Posts

George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.