Swastikas were drawn on the walls of men’s toilets at a factory in Cardiff, an employment tribunal has found.
The tribunal, concerning powder coating company Euro Quality Coatings , found the symbols, associated with Nazism, were “unquestionably offensive”.
In a written judgement, employment judge Paul Cadney said: “It is impossible not to conclude that the respondent failed to treat this with the seriousness it deserved.”
‘Racist and homophobic harassment’
The employment tribunal was held at Caradog House in Cardiff in November 2015 and the judgement has since been published.
Former warehouse employee Nathan Owens , who is mixed race, claimed he had suffered racist and homophobic harassment at work.
Mr Owens made a total of 17 allegations against his employer and colleagues relating to the Equality Act 2010, which were all denied.
The claims were made against his employer, as well as individual colleagues Dave Morgan, Steve Rosher, Lee Hardy, Jon Royal and Adam Phillips.
Of those allegations, one was withdrawn, 15 were dismissed and one was found proved.
All bar one claims ‘without base’
Managing director Steve Rosher said: “We are pleased that the tribunal found all bar one of the accusations made by the claimant to be without base.
“In particular, we were pleased that the employees wrongly accused of making racist and homophobic remarks were completely exonerated of any such act.”
He confirmed that the company has put in place more frequent checks of the toilets since the findings on the allegation regarding swastikas.
Mr Rosher added: “The company is also placing an increased focus on employee awareness of others and in its equal opportunities policy.”
The claimant, who was dismissed from the company in October 2014 on the grounds of lateness and absenteeism, made two allegations against his colleague Dave Morgan.
Mr Owens claimed his colleague said: “I remember back in the day we used to go n***** bashing.”
‘Let the black b******* starve’
He claimed the same colleague said “let the black b******* starve” while listening to the Band Aid single Do They Know It’s Christmas?
The allegations, which Mr Morgan denied, were dismissed as the tribunal ruled: “We were impressed by Mr Morgan as a witness and accept his evidence he did not make these remarks.”
Mr Owens, who began working for the company in October 2012, claimed several colleagues used “camp” voices to him, suggesting he was gay.
He claimed they also regularly asked him to “bend over” and touched his bottom – allegations that were dismissed by the tribunal.
In his fourth allegation, the claimant said swastikas were drawn on the walls of the men’s toilets between March and September 2013.
The written judgement stated: “The tribunal has not found this an easy issue to resolve.” It added there were “serious doubts” about the claimant’s credibility.
It concluded: “We are satisfied that in this instance in allowing at least one swastika to remain on the walls of the toilet for a matter of weeks, the respondent is responsible for a state of affairs amounting to harassment.”
Other claims that Mr Owen’s colleague Mike Burnett made racist comments relating to the film 12 Years A Slave were also dismissed.
The claimant alleged the same colleague said: “Black men and white women, it’s wrong, it’s disgusting.” That allegation was also dismissed by the tribunal.
Euro Quality Coatings submitted that the claimant “concocted” the claim, “exaggerated” the consequences of genuine incidents and “invented” other incidents.