Coffin Mew’s Employment News | June 2011 | Issue 34
It’s news, but not as
we know it...
the world at the moment (?),
the newspapers have been
able to dedicate several
trillion words to an in depth
analysis of this catastrophic
event. It would appear that
the general consensus
behind her removal is the fear
that the US viewers would
not be able to understand her
I understand that the UK
Customer: "I've been ringing 0700 2300 for two days and can't get government has carried out a
through to enquiries, can you help?" retaliatory expulsion of David
Call Centre Operator: "Where did you get that number from, sir?" Hasselhoff in response.
Customer: "It was on the door to the Travel Centre.”
Call Centre Operator: "Sir, they are our opening hours". So, are employers vulnerable
Genuine Transcript in the UK if they don’t recruit
or dismiss employees
because of their accents?
Welcome brunt of my angst and
Howay man – let’s ‘ave a look
It’s been a tough week in uncertainty and despite her
Tibble Towers ladies and best efforts, I just cannot
gentlemen. I feel that over the come to terms with one of
The Legal Bit
months, we have got to know the biggest, most challenging
each other well enough that I and inexplicable questions
employment claims have
can share a few personal that I have ever faced in my
usually involved claims of
issues with you now…. life……. How could the
discrimination on the
Americans have kicked Cheryl
grounds of race or nationality.
I have to confess that I Cole off the US version of The
Over the years, there have not
haven’t been sleeping very X Factor???
been many cases that have
well. Something has been
actually been argued in court.
playing on my mind, to the Oh, the travesty of it all. I’m
extent that even when I do surprised that Messrs Clegg
In 2006, the Employment
get to sleep, it’s not long and Cameron haven’t
Appeal Tribunal considered
before I’m awake again and declared a national day of
this issue in the case of
pacing around the bedroom. mourning. Thankfully,
Hundal v Initial Security Ltd. In
I’m afraid that the current Mrs because nothing else of any
this case, Mr Hundal was
Tibble has been taking the importance is happening in
employed on the night shift
am sure that if the legislators
Coffin Mew’s Employment News have anything to do about it,
the Geordie Discrimination
It’s news, but not as we know it... Regulations will be just
around the corner.
and part of his role included speaking English. Had the have been possible to argue Anyway, I’m off to Heathrow
answering telephone calls claimant been from that a clearly understandable to wave goodbye to Mr
from colleagues or customers. Newcastle or Norway and accent was a necessary Hasselhoff.
His employer ultimately exhibited the same difficulties requirement.
decided to move Mr Hundal in verbal communication as Until next week.
to the day shift (where there the claimant the Tribunal are As an aside.....
was less of a need to deal satisfied the outcome would So, for those of you who Darren
with telephone calls) because have been the same.” haven’t fast-forwarded to this
they believed that he had bit and read the legal stuff
such a strong Indian accent As such, the Tribunal above (I know you do it –
that many people could not accepted that the treatment shame on you) you will see
understand what he was of Mr Hundal was not on the that there is a risk of being on To contact one of our
employment team please call or
saying. Mr Hundal alleged ground of his race. the receiving end of a race
that he had been discrimination claim for
discriminated against on the In 2007, there was a mistreatment of an employee Dorlee Monschau,
grounds of his race and contrasting case to Hundal, in or prospective employee Partner
ethnic origin. the case of Meshram v Talk because of their accent, if it 023 9236 6018
Talk. In this case, Mr Meshram can be linked to their
In this case, the employer was a British Asian who was particular race, nationality or
successfully defended the born in India. He lived in ethnic origin. Darren Tibble,
claim because they showed Northampton and had Partner
that its treatment of Mr spoken English since the age Therefore, it would seem that 023 8057 4349
Hundal was entirely due to of two. employees with accents from
his difficulty in speaking Newcastle, Birmingham and email@example.com
English clearly. In the tribunal As part of his job, he was sent Liverpool etc are unlikely to
decision the judge said that to India to train Talk Talk’s call be protected, as they are Solicitor
the problem was in relation centre staff over there. regional accents, as opposed 023 9236 9522
to Mr Hundal’s “ability to However, he was returned to to accents that are linked to a
communicate and enunciate England after only two weeks particular nationality or ethnic firstname.lastname@example.org
clearly, which is more than in his new post because his background.
simply a standard of English”. accent “wasn’t English
They went on to say that a enough”, even though his As such, I am afraid that Ms Solicitor
lack of clarity in verbal role was only to provide Cole may not have her day in 023 8057 4343
communication could result technical advice and not to court this time. I know – it’s a
from a heavy accent give advice on how to miscarriage of justice, but I email@example.com
regardless of an individual’s communicate.
ethnic background. Understandably, in this case,
Mr Meshram won his claim of
The Tribunal said: race discrimination because
the role did not involve an
“A Glaswegian or Newcastle absolute necessity to be able
accent can be as to ‘clearly’ communicate with
impenetrable as a French or customers and colleagues, as
Norwegian accent, but it is in the Hundal case above.
possible for an individual to However, if Mr Meshram had Southampton North Harbour Portsmouth
Kings Park House, 22 Kings Park Rd Bay House, Compass Road,
alter their enunciation been sent to India to train the Southampton SO15 2UF North Harbour Business Park
regardless of their Ethnic call centre staff in how to Portsmouth PO6 4RS
Tel: 023 8033 4661 Tel: 023 9238 8021
background to ensure they communicate with English-
www.coffinmew.co.uk Offices also in Fareham & Gosport
can be understood when speaking customers, it might
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