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Polish engineer nicknamed Borat by 'racist' colleagues wins £2,250 compensation

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A Polish engineer who was called Borat at work has been awarded £2,250 compensation after a tribunal ruled the nickname was racist.

Adrian Ruda was 'degraded and humiliated' by the nickname given to him by a fellow worker in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, the panel found.

The decision means a million Poles and other Eastern Europeans now living in Britain are legally victims of racial abuse if bantering workmates call them by names that appear to refer to their native countries.

Borat, the comic character made famous by Sacha Baron Cohen, is said to be a national of Kazakhstan, the Asian former Soviet republic that borders Russia and China.

Kazakhs have long resented both the comedian and his films which they say traduce their nation and its people.

The Leeds tribunal declared someone who was not from Eastern Europe would not have been called Borat and so the engineer, from Wakefield-based TEi Ltd, ‘had been the subject of direct race discrimination’.

The tribunal also said the Borat image also insults Eastern Europeans.

TEi, which racked up substantial legal costs defending Mr Ruda's claim, was ordered by the Leeds tribunal to put in place a workplace harassment and bullying policy.

It must now also train all employees in line with the policy and make them aware of the unacceptable conduct in Mr Ruda's case.

Employment law experts said the verdict is a warning to other managers and their workers.

Barrister Daniel Barnett said: ‘Although the case sounds frivolous, imagine if an African employee was nicknamed “Uncle Tom” or “Kunta Kinte”.

'There is no difference in principle; Mr Ruda was given this particular nickname because of his national origins and for no other reason.

‘Other employees who were not from Eastern Europe had been given nicknames associated with their personal characteristics rather than with their national origin.'

The tribunal declared that someone who was not from Eastern Europe would not have been called Borat and so the engineer ‘had been the subject of direct race discrimination.’

Mr Ruda, an engineering supervisor, was called Borat over a four-week period in the autumn of 2007 by one of the welders in his charge, the tribunal said.

He did not object to the name and regularly replied to it with a Borat catchphrase, ‘I love you.’

The panel found the evidence given by the welder and all his colleagues at their Wakefield-based company, TEi Ltd, to be ‘forthright and honest’.

But it said the welder who used the nickname Borat – and who also called Mr Ruda ‘gay’, that ‘his knowledge and appreciation of discrimination in 2007 and even in 2011 left a great deal to be desired.’

The tribunal said it disbelieved Mr Ruda’s evidence on a string of counts, including his claims that he spoke poor English and that a series of other colleagues abused him over a long period of time.

It said the engineer had been ‘less than honest’ over a number of his claims.

However it said he was a victim of both race and sex discrimination and said ‘the use of the nickname Borat was an act of racial harassment.

Employment judge Jonathan Whittaker ruled: 'The application of the nickname "Borat" violated Mr Ruda's dignity in the period in question and created for him a degrading, humiliating and defensive work environment.

'Although the majority, if not all, other employees had nicknames applied to them, the examples of other nicknames which were given to the tribunal were not in any way associated with the racial or national origins of the persons in question.

'There was therefore a significant difference between the nicknames applied to others and the nickname applied to Mr Ruda.'

The tribunal allowed Mr Ruda's claims to succeed even though he was almost three years too late in law bringing them.

It took into account that Mr Ruda was unfamiliar with British working practices and ruled that it was 'in the interests of justice' to extend the time limit.

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The thing is a lot of racism becomes so ingrained and that the people it offends do not speak up it is thought of as completely acceptable and casual use is completely OK in the eyes of the person who is making the comment. When really it is not.

My manager would often call me a Chink..... I was concerned about my job so didn't speak up.

A DZO recently make racist comments at me thinking it was funny. He was absolutely shocked when I turned round and told him his wife sucks donkey wang. He got really offended and asked me why I would make such a comment. I told him his offensive remarks were how I felt...

He no longer makes such comments.

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What a load of shite, pi$$ taking is endemic in such a place as an engineering firm, poor polish sausage.

There's a fine line between teasing and bullying..

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There's a fine line between teasing and bullying..

Well, I wouldnt say that calling a supervisor (who answers to it with the catchphrase) was bullying or racist tbh.

I guess that this is closer to bullying but it still made me chuckle...

299689d1314039016-office-pranks-complaints-office_pranks_and_complaints.gif

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The thing is a lot of racism becomes so ingrained and that the people it offends do not speak up it is thought of as completely acceptable and casual use is completely OK in the eyes of the person who is making the comment. When really it is not.

My manager would often call me a Chink..... I was concerned about my job so didn't speak up.

A DZO recently make racist comments at me thinking it was funny. He was absolutely shocked when I turned round and told him his wife sucks donkey wang. He got really offended and asked me why I would make such a comment. I told him his offensive remarks were how I felt...

He no longer makes such comments.

Exactly. It's so obviously racist AND offensive I'm surprised anyone has to ask. Is this 2011 or 1975?

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The thing is a lot of racism becomes so ingrained and that the people it offends do not speak up it is thought of as completely acceptable and casual use is completely OK in the eyes of the person who is making the comment. When really it is not.

My manager would often call me a Chink..... I was concerned about my job so didn't speak up.

A DZO recently make racist comments at me thinking it was funny. He was absolutely shocked when I turned round and told him his wife sucks donkey wang. He got really offended and asked me why I would make such a comment. I told him his offensive remarks were how I felt...

He no longer makes such comments.

I think (assuming you're not a $£""$£%), you learn what is acceptable and not as you get to know people better.

Mate down the pub is always referred to as Black Dave.. simply because theres a lot of daves, and he's the black one. He's not insulted by that, but i can think of other people that would be..

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I think (assuming you're not a $£""$£%), you learn what is acceptable and not as you get to know people better.

Mate down the pub is always referred to as Black Dave.. simply because theres a lot of daves, and he's the black one. He's not insulted by that, but i can think of other people that would be..

What are the other Daves called? Fat Dave, Ginger Dave, Big Dave, etc.?

Or Dave Smith/Jones/Bloggs?

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What are the other Daves called? Fat Dave, Ginger Dave, Big Dave, etc.?

Or Dave Smith/Jones/Bloggs?

I know of a Big Dave and a Black Dave...neither seem offended by these terms..there's another one who is scottish, mixed race Dave...he gets mortally offended if anyone calls him Black Dave...

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Polish engineer nicknamed Borat by 'racist' colleagues wins £2,250 compensation

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Something in what you quoted doesn't add up.

It says he didn't object to it. So how did a tribunal get involved in the first place? If he complained to a tribunal, the first thing they'd ask is whether he'd asked the offender(s) to desist, and taken it to management if he had and they hadn't.

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Something in what you quoted doesn't add up.

It says he didn't object to it. So how did a tribunal get involved in the first place? If he complained to a tribunal, the first thing they'd ask is whether he'd asked the offender(s) to desist, and taken it to management if he had and they hadn't.

The guy says the same thing. He says they joked about it (and the Polish supervisor was also helping him learn German, so sounds like a pretty cordial relationship). Apparently someone told the Polish guy he could make a lot of money from claiming against the company (note the article states that it was reported 3 years later). Apparently there were 14 charges brought against the company in total, with only this one being upheld.

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I don't see why the court should rule that racial nicknames are offensive and other nicknames aren't.

I wouldn't be offended at being called a Pommy, Limy, Rosbif, John Bull, Tommy etc.. provided it was in jest and not with malicious intent.

I would be much more likely to object to being called big-ears, dick the donkey or plenty of far more offensive things. There must be more to this or the court are just making a mockery of the British legal system.

I would have thought it was just as likely that they called him Borat because he presumably sounds like Borat, not because he's from Kazakhstan (which he clearly isn't anyway).

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What are the other Daves called? Fat Dave, Ginger Dave, Big Dave, etc.?

Or Dave Smith/Jones/Bloggs?

There was something I wrote about ten years ago re DNA databases and DNA discrimination, in that its OK to discriminate on something which can be changed with reasonable effort, so you can discriminate on qualifications and work experience. But you can't change the colour of your skin being a man or a woman therefore its not ok to discriminate on that.

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Something in what you quoted doesn't add up.

It says he didn't object to it. So how did a tribunal get involved in the first place? If he complained to a tribunal, the first thing they'd ask is whether he'd asked the offender(s) to desist, and taken it to management if he had and they hadn't.

Some things you cannot waive and can't say oh its OK.

Like NMW law, job trial schemes where you are unpaid and fake apprenticeships for example blantantly break this law. In that you cannot waive things in the UK, like the NMW law, even if you do not object the NMW commission or whatever can sue your underpaying employer and award you the underpayment without your intervention.

DZs are a good example, the US lets you sign a rights waiver, which means ANYTHING goes in the USA. I.e. yes you can drive a car out the back of a skyvan. You can jump a tiny canopy. But the UK you can't waive these rights therefore it is MUCH MUCH more tightly regulated.

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I don't see why the court should rule that racial nicknames are offensive and other nicknames aren't.

I wouldn't be offended at being called a Pommy, Limy, Rosbif, John Bull, Tommy etc.. provided it was in jest and not with malicious intent.

+1, it's all about whether there's any malice in it, and whether he's really treated any differently to anyone else. Otherwise it's just as bad as people acting maliciously and unpleasantly and saying it's just a joke.

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So this took 3 years to be raised and he also stated he was not offended by it ?! Serious ?

****** sake if I got that money everytime the word ginger was used around or towards me I would LITERALLY be a millionaire. ZERO exaggeration either. I would literally have over a million pounds in my bank account.

And being ginger is genetic and in your DNA so being teased for it is exactly the same as being black or Chinese or whatever.

Personally I do not give a ****** about ginger comments. However I do when nonsense like this raises its head. Total waste of time and money.

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F*ck me I wish I had a quid for every comment I've had about being English from my Froggie and Swiss colleagues.

Maybe I should sue.

Oh no, hang on, that would make me (more of) a total ****.

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Well, I wouldnt say that calling a supervisor (who answers to it with the catchphrase) was bullying or racist tbh.

I guess that this is closer to bullying but it still made me chuckle...

Thanks for that. I actually cried with laughter

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So this took 3 years to be raised and he also stated he was not offended by it ?! Serious ?

****** sake if I got that money everytime the word ginger was used around or towards me I would LITERALLY be a millionaire. ZERO exaggeration either. I would literally have over a million pounds in my bank account.

And being ginger is genetic and in your DNA so being teased for it is exactly the same as being black or Chinese or whatever.

Personally I do not give a ****** about ginger comments. However I do when nonsense like this raises its head. Total waste of time and money.

Isn't it a lot about the context/relationship you have with the people that make those comments too though? In the name of 'banter' between friends, pretty much anything goes imo - yet the same said by a stranger could end up in a messy night out.

All my life most of my friends call me by my surname - don't really mind/care, but it does bug me if someone i don't know tries it.

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So this took 3 years to be raised and he also stated he was not offended by it ?! Serious ?

****** sake if I got that money everytime the word ginger was used around or towards me I would LITERALLY be a millionaire. ZERO exaggeration either. I would literally have over a million pounds in my bank account.

And being ginger is genetic and in your DNA so being teased for it is exactly the same as being black or Chinese or whatever.

Personally I do not give a ****** about ginger comments. However I do when nonsense like this raises its head. Total waste of time and money.

If this is true then me being follicley challenged is also in my DNA. Day to day I have no qualms if my mates point out my distinct lack of a mop but if someone from my school days that I haven't seen for years picks fun at me then I am insulted, especially if his name is Stephen Furness and has a face like a squirrel. It's bizarre really as shaving it all off made me far more attractive to the opposite sex yet I still felt hurt by this little, jumped up excuse for a man.

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Isn't it a lot about the context/relationship you have with the people that make those comments too though? In the name of 'banter' between friends, pretty much anything goes imo - yet the same said by a stranger could end up in a messy night out.

All my life most of my friends call me by my surname - don't really mind/care, but it does bug me if someone i don't know tries it.

In this example he took 3 years to complain. It i pretty clear from this that this was not any form of serious bullying or the likes.

Yes it is all about context. However it is not exactly easy to determine either way.

Exactly how many people in the UK have ever been charged and convicted with a hate or whatever crime for bullying/insulting a person due to their ginger hair - which is a genetic trait. I imagine the answer is zero. Yet were all of the millions of ginger jokes/comments etc.. all done in good taste and just for a laugh ? Of course not. So why exactly is this the case and yet for the colour of someone's skin /accent/ country of residence we have thousands of such examples of convictions ?

It is ********. Simple as that.

If this is true then me being follicley challenged is also in my DNA. Day to day I have no qualms if my mates point out my distinct lack of a mop but if someone from my school days that I haven't seen for years picks fun at me then I am insulted, especially if his name is Stephen Furness and has a face like a squirrel. It's bizarre really as shaving it all off made me far more attractive to the opposite sex yet I still felt hurt by this little, jumped up excuse for a man.

Well exactly. Who exactly has chosen what genetic things are allowed to be picked on and which ones are not ? I certainly wasn't involved in these discussions....

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As soon as I read that this took place in Yorkshire, I lost all interest.

Spare a thought for me. I live in Bury these days, nuff said. :angry:

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If this is true then me being follicley challenged is also in my DNA. Day to day I have no qualms if my mates point out my distinct lack of a mop but if someone from my school days that I haven't seen for years picks fun at me then I am insulted, especially if his name is Stephen Furness and has a face like a squirrel. It's bizarre really as shaving it all off made me far more attractive to the opposite sex yet I still felt hurt by this little, jumped up excuse for a man.

Would you mind if your work colleagues & clients constantly called you slaphead or Kojak or Pickard every day, in meetings etc.?

If so, why exactly?

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Well, I wouldnt say that calling a supervisor (who answers to it with the catchphrase) was bullying or racist tbh.

I guess that this is closer to bullying but it still made me chuckle...

299689d1314039016-office-pranks-complaints-office_pranks_and_complaints.gif

That is funny, but it does remind me of someone I work with who (although goes no where near this level) lacks professionalism at times. It can be very frustrating when you are trying to get things done.

So, where did that come from? And what happened to David Thorne?

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  • 333 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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