A Hindu postal worker has won £ 200,000 for religious discrimination after a Christian colleague mistook him for consecutive prayer rooms for a Muslim.
Mathan Shunmugaraja subsequently organized work-related meetings in which one of his Christian colleagues, Adam Day, prayed.
Annoyed with the move, Mr. Day stormed into one of the meetings and said he hadn't used the "Muslim prayer room" at the Cardiff Royal Mail Center for work, so Mr. Shunmugaraja shouldn't use his.
The angry exchange in 2017 represented religious discrimination, the panel decided, as Mr Shunmugaraja is in fact a British-Indian Hindu.
A panel in Cardiff found that the manager, who earned £ 32,000 in the depot, was also a victim of racial discrimination after a colleague called him a "smart dog" after a small argument.
An appeal ruling published yesterday found that Royal Mail had to pay Mr Shunmugaraja £ 229,161 for harm to feelings, as well as past and future losses.
Mathan Shunmugaraja has won more than £ 200,000 in compensation after colleagues at the Cardiff Royal Mail Center mistook him for a Muslim and called him a "smart dog".
A labor court held in Cardiff heard that as part of his role he had to hold weekly meetings to hold training and plan for the week ahead.
Generally these meetings took place in the room that was vacant at the time, and he began to use what was known as the "quiet room".
There was a notice on the door that read, "Dear user, this room is for prayer, reflection and reading. Please respect this facility for this purpose."
On a different floor of the building was a designated prayer room, which was supposedly "mainly" used by Muslim employees – as it is customary for Islamists to pray five times a day.
The tribunal heard that Mr. Day was using the "quiet room" to pray and was furious when he learned that Mr. Shunmugaraja was using the room for work.
In August 2017, Mr. Day complained to another manager about the situation and asked Mr. Shunmugaraja not to use the room in the future.
This week's meeting took place in the & # 39; Quiet Room & # 39; instead, but when Mr. Day found out he stormed in and started yelling aggressively, demanding that Mr. Shunmugaraja come outside to discuss the problem.
When Mr. Shunmugaraja asked another colleague – who was a Muslim – to come with them, Mr. Day said, “What for? I will not kill you. & # 39;
The tribunal heard that Mr. Day then offered an alternative "caustic and aggressive" saying, "Let's use the Muslim prayer room".
In another incident prior to leaving the company, Mr. Shunmugaraja also got into an argument with another colleague, Tony Brown, who referred to him as a "smart dog" during a meeting.
Mr Shunmugaraja wrote to Royal Mail's Human Resources Department alleging that he had been molested and bullied because of his race.
He asked for an outside investigation, but was advised that outside staff would not normally investigate bullying and harassment complaints made by managers against their team.
Mr. Shunmugaraja then became unwell and was on sick leave and did not return to work until he was released, which had nothing to do with the argument.
When Judge Laura Howden-Evans reached her conclusion, she found these comments and the quarrel over the relaxation room was discrimination.
Judge Howden-Evans said, “Mr. Day was upset and upset that Mr. Shunmuguraja was using the quiet room that Mr. Day personally used for prayers.
Laura Howden-Evans, a judge at the Cardiff Employment Tribunal, gave her conclusion, saying that Mr Shunmugaraja faced "caustic and aggressive" confrontation in 2017
In the heat of the moment, Mr. Day made this comment without thinking. It was a reply that came out that he would not have said to someone of the same religion as himself.
"We are pleased that in the heat of the moment and in those words, he blurred Mr. Shunmugaraja's religion and his friend's (who is a Muslim) religion and tried to say," You respect the Muslim religion – why not respect it Mine & # 39 ;.
"However, Mr. Day did not put it this way or that way – instead he said caustic and aggressively:" Let's use the (Muslim) prayer room. "
“We accept that it is less favorable to be aggressively addressed. We are satisfied that this treated (him) less favorably and that the reason for this less favorable treatment was (his) perceived religion, since at that moment Mr. Day had confused (his) religion with the religion of (his) friend.
"(He) succeeds with his claim of direct religious discrimination based on his perceived religion."
Regarding the "smart dog" comments, she said, "The Tribunal accepts that the term" dog "and the phrase" smart dog "may be considered an offense in many cultures and may have breed connotations."
It concluded that his allegations of religious discrimination, racial harassment, and victimization related to proprietary disclosures were well founded.
A Royal Mail spokeswoman said today: & # 39; Royal Mail is disappointed with this decision. We are now carefully reviewing the results.
"Royal Mail takes its commitments to equality and diversity very seriously and is committed to creating a workplace that is free from discrimination and harassment, where our colleagues can feel respected and thrive."
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