Broker brings Employment Tribunal discrimination claim involving “Kim Jong Il pictures”

MoJA former employee of one of the UK’s biggest brokers has brought legal proceedings against the company after he alleged that racially offensive jokes went unpunished in the workplace.

Mr Kishore Kansal, 33, issued proceedings in the Employment Tribunal against broker firm Tullet Prebon and six of his former colleagues for direct race discrimination and race-related harassment after he claimed that he had been subjected to racially offensive jokes and harassment during his employment.

The claim came to the Employment Tribunal last month, with Mr Kansal giving evidence in his favour to an Employment Tribunal panel. Mr Kansal, giving evidence, stated that he had been subjected to the following incidents of discrimination and harassment during his employment:

  • That he had been the victim of racial slurs and harassment “from day one” after joining Tullett Prebon in July 2012
  • That a line manager of his had made “regular… racist comments” and that he had “favourite terms such as ‘terrorist’ and ‘brown boys'” for British Asian staff
  • That his line manager referred to a British Asian colleague’s new-born baby as “little dog”
  • That a colleague sent Mr Kansal a text message referring to a large institutional investor from Saudi Arabia as “rag heads”

The lawyer for Tullett Prebon and six former colleagues of Mr Kansal’s who are the ‘defendants’ in the claim accused Mr Kansal of helping to create an environment that he subsequently claimed to be racially offensive; in particular, the lawyer pointed out that Mr Kansal had commented that a US client of South East Asian heritage sounded like the portrayal of Kim Jong Il in the film ‘Team America: World Police’ and that he had sent colleagues a picture of the character by email. Mr Kansal disagreed with this assessment, stating that his characterisation of the client was not supposed to be racially offensive and that he felt that this was funny at the time.

Both Tullett Prebon and the former colleagues of Mr Kansal deny Mr Kansal’s claims.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the claim: “Mr Kansal’s claims against Tullett Prebon is – in the case of the harassment claims – based upon the fact that comments were made or actions undertaken in the workplace that had the purpose or effect of being, broadly, offensive. The burden will lie on Mr Kansal to show, on the balance of probabilities, that he was subjected to such conduct and that conduct had the effect – both subjectively and objectively – of being offensive, as claimed.”

The Employment Tribunal claim is ongoing and a judgment is expected in the claim later this year.