A Hindu ex-worker with Royal Mail has been awarded nearly £230,000 after a tribunal concluded that he had faced harassment and discrimination at work.
Former manager Mathan Shunmugaraja was called a “sly dog” by one colleague and was embroiled in a dispute with another over the use of a room in which he was mistaken for a Muslim, reported The Guardian.
Indian-origin Shunmugaraja, a maths graduate, described his dismissal in January 2018 from Royal Mail as a “fall from grace”.
He could not find work after that and split his time between sofa-surfing in the UK and living in a rural part of India with his mother.
Shunmugaraja began working for Royal Mail in Cardiff in August 2007 and by 2017 was earning £32,000 a year.
Though the worker who called Shunmugaraja “a sly dog” claimed the slur did not have racial connotations, the tribunal said that the term would be perceived as an insult in many cultures and could have racial connotations, the report said.
According to Shunmugaraja, the comment had been made in front of his line manager but no action was taken against the colleague.
In August 2017, a colleague reacted angrily when he realised that Shunmugaraja was using his prayer room as a meeting room. The former commented that he would not have used a Muslim prayer room for the meeting, as he thought Shunmugaraja was a Muslim.
The tribunal concluded this amounted to religious discrimination.
“The claimant loved his job, was clearly performing at a very good level and had every expectation that he would continue to progress his career at Royal Mail until his retirement,” the tribunal said.
A Royal Mail spokesperson told The Guardian that it takes its equality and diversity obligations very seriously and is committed to a workplace free of discrimination and harassment.