An English delivery man working in Scotland has won £13,000 in a racial discrimination claim after his boss called him an ‘English p***k’ and told him ‘you go back on the bus like your football team’.
David Hawksworth was subjected to a campaign of racial harassment by Scottish depot manager Patrick Murray, who “disliked him” for being English and “spreading lies that he was a sex offender,” Hawksworth claimed.
Within weeks of joining Greencore Food To Go, a food delivery company with a depot in Glasgow, Mr Murray referred to Mr Hawksworth as an ‘English p***k’ and ‘English b*****d’.
Mr Hawksworth, who had moved to Scotland and had a distinct English accent, was also told that ‘as soon as Scotland became independent’ he should ‘go home’.
In another incident during the 2018 World Cup, Mr Murray told Mr Hawksworth that he would “soon be on the bus back to England, just like the football team.”
Greencore Food To Go distribution center in Glasgow, where David Hawksworth was subjected to a campaign of racial harassment by Scottish depot manager Patrick Murray
Now Mr Hawksworth has sued Greencore Food To Go for racial discrimination through harassment and unfair dismissal and has won £13,306.
An employment tribunal heard that Mr Hawksworth, who started as a delivery boy in April 2018, was “offended” and “violated” by the racist harassment.
A tribunal report said: ‘Within a few weeks of starting work, it became clear to him that the defendant’s depot manager, Mr Patrick Murray, did not appreciate him.
“On one occasion, while using the forklift to load the vans, Mr Murray called Mr Hawksworth an ‘English p***k’. Mr Hawksworth replied with ‘sorry’, indicating that he was offended and registering his objection.
Murray told the tribunal that ‘p***k’ was his ‘go to’ swear word, but denied using the plaintiff’s description as English. It was clear to the tribunal that Mr Murray was using this expression in the direction of Mr Hawksworth.’
Mr Hawksworth also accused Mr Murray of “spreading lies that he is a sex offender” after Mr Hawksworth said he would go to court on charges of stalking, which were eventually dropped.
Another colleague, Craig Steen, is said to have called Mr Hawksworth a ‘paedo’ during rounds.
Mr Hawksworth’s relationship with the company broke down over time and he was fired for stress.
Mr Hawksworth took a second job while off work, as others at the company did, but was summoned to a disciplinary hearing and was fired in August 2020.
Labor judge Sally Cowen, who sat on a virtual Scottish labor court, ruled that Mr Hawksworth had been racially harassed on the basis of his nationality and was unfairly dismissed for flawed procedure.
Judge Cowen said: ‘The fact that Mr Murray chose to add the adjective ‘English’ [on his insults], is a sign of the fact that Mr Murray identified Mr Hawksworth as having a different nationality and identifying characteristic.
‘Mr Hawksworth found the comment intimidating, demeaning and hurtful. The tribunal found that Mr Hawksworth’s perception of the comment was reasonable in the circumstances and that the comment constituted harassment.
“The tribunal is pleased that Mr Murray has said that Mr Hawksworth would soon be on a bus to England, as would the England football team.
“Mr Murray didn’t deny that he said it, but the only explanation he could give was that it was said in jest.
‘Colin Lowe’ [a Greencore regional director] said Mr Murray’s conduct was unacceptable and the Tribunal agrees with this view.
In addition, the tribunal finds that the remark was made because of Mr Hawksworth’s nationality and was insulting and humiliating to the plaintiff and violated his dignity.
“The tribunal also found that Mr Murray acted in this way because Mr Hawksworth was English and Mr Murray dislikes Mr Hawksworth on that basis.”
The judge added that the harassment had an impact on Mr Hawksworth’s mental health, financial difficulties due to the protracted nature of the crime.
She added: “The tribunal was convinced that the harassment amounted to an act by Mr Murray who disliked Mr Hawksworth and chose to harass him on the basis of his nationality.”
Greencore Food To Go provides delivery services across the UK and has a depot in Glasgow.