Jewish man wins claim in Nazi outfit case

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The Independent Online

A Jewish broker who was ordered to wear an Adolf Hitler costume by his bosses at a prestigious City firm – for being late for work – has settled his race discrimination case.

The firm, Tullett & Tokyo, had admitted that asking Laurent Weinberger, whose grandmother died at Auschwitz, to wear Nazi regalia was "wholly inappropriate" but claimed it was an example of a light-hearted trading-floor forfeit.

The terms of yesterday's settlement were not disclosed, but Mr Weinberger, 33, is believed to have received compensation. News of the deal was revealed in a joint statement by the legal representatives of Mr Weinberger and his former employer.

Mr Weinberger told an employment tribunal hearing in London in January that his refusal to wear the uniform led to him being given an inferior job with less pay. He claimed racial discrimination and unfair dismissal. The company denied race discrimination but said the practice of forfeits had been ended and the firm had taken steps to ensure a similar incident did not happen again. A spokesperson for solicitors Magrath & Co, which represented the broking firm, said: "This claim focused on a regrettable incident for which the employer quickly apologised. Our client is pleased that a mutually satisfactory end has been reached."

Mr Weinberger said: "I am pleased with the outcome and relieved this matter is over."

The tribunal had heard that brokers at the firm used to place a skull cap on the office television if a Jewish person appeared on CNN. Two of Mr Weinberger's colleagues and his line manager admitted name-calling, hiring a Nazi uniform and misusing the skull cap, but said it was part of the "idle banter and horseplay" on which their department thrived. The term "Yiddo" was not race-specific since it had been applied to non-Jewish members of staff as slang for Tottenham Hotspur fans, they said.

Mr Weinberger's lawyer, Makbool Javaid, said his client was just one of the firm's brokers from an ethnic background who was subjected to humiliating rituals – including dressing a Welshman in a Bo-Peep costume and an Irish protestant as the Pope.

Mr Javaid said: "It was as offensive as making a black man wear a Ku Klux Klan costume."

Sinclair Cramsie, acting for the company, said: "It might appear in extremely poor taste, but brokers find it an outlet for stress in a high-pressure environment. Such banter was often prearranged to create an aggressive and productive atmosphere."