Man called ‘fat ginger pikey’ by boss loses race discrimination claim

David Evans says decision is 'not right' and plans to appeal

Tom Embury-Dennis
Friday 12 January 2018 01:51
Sales representative David Evans claims he was also called a 'salad dodger'
Sales representative David Evans claims he was also called a 'salad dodger'

A salesman who was called "a fat ginger pikey", a "salad dodger" and a "fat Yoda" has lost his claim for racial harassment.

David Evans, who worked for a global software company, said he suffered the abuse by colleagues, who also compared him to Lord of the Rings character Gimli the dwarf, a "jellied eel salesman", and referred to him as "wonky eye".

He also claimed bosses at Xactly called him a “salad dodger” at least ten times in eight months during what amounted to a campaign of harassment.

Mr Evans claimed he was victimised by his former bosses over his race, his diabetes and an under-active thyroid, which caused weight gain.

But an employment tribunal in London found he was not a victim of harassment because he did not complain at the time and could not show a link between his illness and any weight gain.

A panel of judges also found colleagues did not know he had connections to the Traveller community, and that he was not persecuted because of his diabetes.

Mr Evans claimed he was called a "salad dodger" at a lunch in March 2016, then a "fat ginger pikey" a month later.

He also said he was called a "fat Yoda" in May 2016 when he sat down at his desk and "Gimli" on a number of occasions - including allegedly receiving a picture of the fictional dwarf on a company chat system on 15 March last year.

​Judge Joanna Wade said in the panel's judgement: "By far the worst allegation is [the] 'fat ginger pikey' comment. This could have been harassment, but having looked at the context we conclude that it was not.

"The loose connection between the claimant and Travellers makes it very unlikely that the comment was intended to upset him...

"It also makes it less likely that the effect would be a undermining of the claimant's dignity because it was not very personal.

"All the indications are that the claimant was not upset at the time.

"If he complained at all in June the complaint was not sufficient and so there was no recognisable complaint until the grievance some seven months later.

"We do not accept that he was the sort of person to absorb an insult quietly and dwell upon it so that it became more distressing.

"He himself used the 'c' word which makes it unlikely he would have been offended by anything which others might consider acceptable.

"No causal link is established between the claimant's size and his disability.

"The claimant also complains that colleagues called him 'salad dodger', 'fat Yoda', and 'Gimli'.

"Some of these phrases probably were used but we struggled to see how they could have been particularly offensive."

The panel found there was office "banter" which a lot of employees joined in, including Mr Evans.

Mr Evans, who said he was raised by a Traveller family, claimed he was sacked in December 2016 for "expressing an interest in leaving the company", but Xactly said he was fired for poor performance.

The panel added: "The claimant did not advance any arguments which could possibly lead us to conclude that the reason he was disciplined and then dismissed was his disability or race.

"The reason he was dismissed is very clear, cogent and consistent with the treatment of other staff members who failed to make sales."

Mr Evans says he will be appealing the decision of the panel.

He said: "I'm going to appeal it, it's not right. Reading through the judgement it's not a fair reflection of the scenario.

"I never asked to be called a fat ginger pikey, that is unwanted contact, which is the definition of race discrimination.

"There is no consistency between judges. I put my faith in the justice system and I was 100 per cent honest and it's been proven they have lied on multiple occasions but for some reason the judge believed them.

"The fact all their witness statements state 'Romany Gypsy' is evidence of collusion on their part as I've never stated that is my background."