Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Taking The Mickey: Nigerian Man Called ‘A Chimpanzee’ Loses Race Discrimination Case Against Employer

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A Nigerian man who was subjected to racial abused at his place of work in Ireland has lost his race discrimination suit against his employer.

The Nigerian man has been identified as Victor Kings Oluebube. Specifically, his colleague allegedly imitated the sounds of a monkey when addressing him. Also, he told Kings Oluebube that he “looks like a chimpanzee”. The case was determined by the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

Reports in the British media indicate that adjudication officer Maire Mulcahy found the statements allegedly made by the work colleague against Oluebube “are indicative of a reprehensible mindset and undoubtedly constitute harassment on the grounds of race”.

“The comment could not be other than degrading, hostile and humiliating,’’ Ms Mulcahy had said.

However, The Independent reports that Ms Mulcahy found that Mr Oluebube’s claim for discrimination against his employer; CPL Solutions Ltd, on the grounds of race failed.

She found that CPL Solutions Ltd was able to avail of a defence under the Employment Equality Acts; by showing that it took steps to reverse the effects of the harassment and to prevent a recurrence. As a result, she said the company did not harass the Nigerian man on the race grounds in contravention of the Employment Equality Acts.

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Oluebube worked as a warehouse operative at CPL Solutions. He had alleged that, in February 2019, the warehouse team leader imitated the sounds of a monkey in front of him and his colleagues.

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Also, the team leader told Mr Oluebube that he ‘‘looked like a chimpanzee”. Mr Oluebube told the WRC that he found the remarks “to be highly degrading and humiliating but hoped it would be a one-off remark”. However, he did not make a complaint about this incident.

Consequently, three months later, on May 21, 2019; when Mr Oluebube was two minutes late returning from his break; the warehouse team leader is alleged to have told him “you look like a chimpanzee”. Thirty minutes later, the team leader apologised to Mr Oluebube and said he did not mean to be racist. Further, he had asked the complainant to “let it rest here” and that “he had black friends”.

Mr Oluebube’s colleagues encouraged him to report the incident. Thereafter, he had reported what was said to the warehouse manager the following day. However, the recruitment agency, CPL Solutions trading as Flexsource Recruitment, denied the charge of discrimination. Also, it stated that it deplores any affront to Mr Oluebube.

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CPL Solutions said the only incident brought to its attention was the one which happened on May 21 of last year. Also, the company claimed it encouraged Mr Oluebube to make a formal complaint instead of his desire to make an informal complaint.

Thereafter, a manager met with the perpetrator and stated that he had apologised to Mr Oluebube and did so again, profusely. CPL stated that it acted promptly and investigated the matter. It said the perpetrator admitted to the statements as reported by Mr Oluebube.

CPL also said the perpetrator was given a final written warning which is one step short of dismissal.Photo Credit: Getty

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