Employee could receive payout after antisemitic office ‘banter’

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Employee could receive payout after antisemitic office ‘banter’

Tribunal rules in favour of a Jewish sales manager after colleague made antisemitic remark and another called him 'princess'.

L: Matthew Weinreb / LinkedIn, R: Online Travel Training Group
L: Matthew Weinreb / LinkedIn, R: Online Travel Training Group

A Jewish sales manager could receive a payout after a tribunal found he was subjected to antisemitic and other ‘unpleasant banter’ at work.

Matthew Weinreb had taken his former firm, the London-based Online Travel Training Group, to tribunal after being mocked by colleagues, including one who called him a “princess”.

Mr Weinreb, who is Jewish, was dismissed by the firm for alleged misconduct after raising a complaint alleging discrimination and now has won a tribunal case for victimisation.

Among the behaviour he was subjected to included a message from co-worker, Kenny Smith, who told him when discussing teamwork: “Is that the Jew coming out of u?”

Unprompted, the colleague refused to apologise for the comment about a tribunal hearing before Employment Judge Alexandra Davison. However, she found the antisemitic message was “misguided .. [and] arose from ignorance not malice.”

Others at the firm, an online platform for travel agents, bullied him, found the tribunal, with finance manager Patricia Andrade banging on a toilet door in a row sparked when she alluded to him using the gay dating app, Grindr.

“We find that the ‘banter’ often crossed the line of acceptable behaviour,” found a ruling last week.

“We note that it is often difficult for the butt of the joke to complain about the joke for fear of being regarded as humourless and, indeed, we find that the claimant put up with a lot of unpleasant banter without complaint in order to have a good working environment.”

The tribunal found that after Mr Weinreb raised a complaint he was dismissed, ruling this amounted to victimisation.

However, the employee who joined the company on £30,000 a year, failed in his claim for discrimination, after the hearing found there was insufficient evidence that the conduct was motivated by his race or perceived sexuality.

“In conclusion, we find that the claimant was victimised for having made
allegations of discrimination,” found the judge.

A hearing for remedy, where Mr Weinreb could receive compensation, is set for July.

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