Job centre worker awarded £65k after being forced out of job by racist colleagues

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A white job centre worker who was forced out of her job by colleagues for objecting to their bigoted comments has been awarded £65,000 in compensation.

Julie Davies received a number of threatening notes while working at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in Liverpool in late 2010 after protesting to the language used by her fellow staff members when describing X-Factor contestants.

The 41-year-old alleged that her colleagues used a racial slur to describe Rebecca Ferguson and also called for Zimbabwe-born Gamu Nhengu to be deported.

After challenging the statements, Mrs Davies was subject to workplace discrimination as she was sent three offensive notes between October 25th and November 29th.

Despite informing her managers of the situation, a tribunal ruled that they failed to act adequately and Mrs Davies was therefore forced to resign in April 2011.

Mrs Davies was awarded a total of £65,172 in compensation for race discrimination, harassment, victimisation and unfair dismissal.

Employment judge Keith Robinson criticised Mrs Davies’ bosses for their handling of the case which led to the organisation losing a valuable employee.

The judge claimed that her managers should have offered to transfer Mrs Davies, informed the police of the incident, allowed her to raise a formal grievance and investigated who was sending the notes before they eventually did.

Judge Robinson said: “Receiving extremely unpleasant, depressing and upsetting notes was bad enough for the claimant but the inadequate reaction of both middle and senior management to that situation caused much of the damage.

“This was a woman who had worked hard for the department and had an exemplary record and was superb at her job.”

The DWP has confirmed that it would be taking forward recommendations from the judgment and reiterated its zero tolerance approach to all instances of discrimination in the workplace.

“We are committed to providing services to everyone regardless of their background. As an employer we will not tolerate any discrimination,” a spokesperson said.

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