Polish worker wins Employment Tribunal claims after being being told to “go back to his country”

MoJA Polish labourer has won substantial compensation at an Employment Tribunal after it was found that he had been subjected to discrimination and unfairly dismissed from his job.

Mr Daniel Brzezinski worked for Alan, Lee and Dale Edgar, trading as Edgar Contracts, as a labourer from March 2011 to January 2013, when he was fired from his job. Mr Brzezinski, who was originally from Poland, was called a “fenian” by employees of the firm and told to “go back to your country”. He was then dismissed for – his employer subsequently alleged – ‘continuous aggressive behaviour’. Mr Brzezinski subsequently brought Employment Tribunal claims for race discrimination, religious belief discrimination, and unfair dismissal.

The case came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with both Mr Brzezinski and other former and current employees of Edgar Contracts giving evidence. Among the other claims brought, Mr Brzezinski contended that his employer had failed to pay him the national minimum wage and that his employer had also failed to pay him his holiday pay.

The Employment Tribunal panel found in Mr Brzezinski’s favour in his claims for discrimination, failure to pay accrued wages, failure to pay the national minimum wage, and unfair dismissal. The Employment Tribunal panel stated that the Polish labourer’s nationality and religion were “key factors” in the firm’s decision to make him redundant and that a letter purportedly dismissing him for violent conduct that the firm had claimed it had sent him was “spurious” and an attempt to make it look like he had been dismissed for misconduct instead of redundancy. The Tribunal went on to state: “In fact, he had been sacked summarily and unfairly for redundancy and was unfairly selected for a discriminatory reason”.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor, commented on the case: “This appears to have been a fairly obvious case of discrimination. Workers – if they feel that they have been discriminated against – should assert their rights.”