A Ford UK worker has won £150,000 compensation after being subjected to “humiliating and intimidatory” racial abuse at the car manufacturer’s Dagenham plant, the Independent newspaper said.
The Independent said Shinder Nagra was awarded the sum by an employment tribunal after an earlier hearing found Ford guilty of racial discrimination. The tribunal heard that the engine plant worker had suffered years of racial abuse, bullying and threats of violence and two Ford employees accused of racially abusing Nagra have also been ordered to pay him £1,000 each, the report added.
The newspaper said the decision came three years after Nagra’s colleague Sukhjit Parmar was paid a £300,000 settlement by the company and after the company had vowed to stamp out racism at the Essex plant with a “zero-tolerance” policy.
According to the Independent, the employment tribunal’s judgment said: “The abuse Mr Nagra suffered took place over an extended period and was both humiliating and intimidatory. Ford behaved in a high-handed and oppressive manner, failing to address the appropriate matters in the aftermath of their own inquiry.
“The so-called ‘zero policy’ was, in effect, an empty gesture compounded by failure to punish all those responsible and the inappropriate way in which some of those who had transgressed were even promoted.”
The newspaper said the tribunal in Stratford, east London, heard that Indian-born Nagra joined Ford in 1988 and was treated fairly during his first seven years in the assembly section but the abuse started after he joined Mr Parmar in the engine section in January 1995.
The Independent said a small number of group leaders, foremen and supervisors called Parmar “Paki” and then graffiti appeared linking him to “nigger Lawrence” – a reference to the high profile London murder of a black teenager named Stephen Lawrence.
The original tribunal last May heard that Nagra left the company in 1999, fearing a nervous breakdown, the newspaper said.
A Ford spokeswoman told the Independent the company accepted the findings of the employment tribunal remedies hearing and added: “Ford accepted partial liability in the original employment tribunal in November 2001. The issues about which Mr Nagra complained occurred in the 1990s and were thoroughly investigated by Ford at the time.
“The investigation resulted in two employees being disciplined, with one being dismissed from the company in 1999,” the Ford spokeswoman added, according to the Independent report.