Indian-origin techie sues British firm for race bias
An Indian origin software professional, Vinod Rajdev, is suing his former British employer, Civica, for allowing his former colleagues to taunt him as a "terrorist" and an al Qaeda "mastermind".world Updated: Nov 08, 2008 11:14 IST
An Indian origin software professional, Vinod Rajdev, is suing his former British employer, Civica, for allowing his former colleagues to taunt him as a "terrorist" and an Al Qaeda "mastermind".
Rajdev's 50,000 pound ($78,400) suit claims that the employees routinely called him a "Paki" and even framed on his desk mock-up photos showing him sitting next to Osama bin Laden in a cave with an AK-47 rifle beside him.
The 58-year-old alleges he was nicknamed "Shahbaz" after gay Pakistani contestant Shahbaz Chauhdry on Channel 4 reality show "Big Brother 7".
Rajdev is claiming constructive unfair dismissal, religious and race discrimination against Civica. The company, which supplies software to 90 per cent of Britain's local government authorities, denies his claims.
In legal papers submitted to Bedford Employment Tribunal, Rajdev, of Kingsbury, northwest London, says that the racist abuse began at Civica's Luton office in November 2005, where he was a senior programmer and team leader. He eventually quit in last November.
He identifies a colleague, Mark Davis, as the ring leader of the slanging team. When he complained against them, Civica bosses precipitated matters by taking projects away from him and handed them to more junior white colleagues, he alleges.
The Daily Mail quotes him as saying: "This was clear favouritism to white staff. I felt isolated and humiliated by these acts."
In legal papers submitted by Civica to the tribunal, it says that Davis was given a final written warning for creating the photo of Rajdev and bin Laden.
Civica counters Rajdev's claims, stating that it he who took part in the "gallows humour" and joined in all the "office banter".
"Rajdev had been a party to this banter, even jokingly threatening Davis to be careful when he visited London in case he had planted a bomb," the firm says.
Radjev's lawyer Joe Sykes says: "We say that this was humiliation of an Asian worker, which was crude and brutal discrimination and that the company should have held the culprits to account. Instead of backing the team leader, they gave his projects to junior team members and allowed the situation to escalate."
The case will come up for hearing next year.