A call centre worker has been awarded more than £22,000 after winning a race and religious discrimination case against a company owned by entrepreneur and Rangers chairman Sir David Murray.
James Lipka, who was employed at the RHL call centre at Ibrox Stadium in Glasgow, claimed that fellow members of staff had called him "Osama Bin Lipka", a "Mongol" and "Genghis Khan" and complained that the abuse got worse after the July 7 bombings in London in 2005.
Mr Lipka, 58, a Muslim whose father was Polish and of Mongolian descent, also claimed workers handling calls for Rangers Football Club would mimic the accents of callers from Northern Ireland -phoning to buy match tickets and said comments were frequently made suggesting the Irish callers were stupid.
Mr Lipka also claimed call handlers regularly made racist comments about those who were calling about student loans, suggesting that African callers were criminal and using various combinations of names to apply fraudulently for multiple loans, while Asians who called were also subjected to abuse.
He transferred to another section but lodged a grievance complaining of racial harassment while handling calls for both student loans and Rangers.
Mr Lipka later claimed that evidence passed on to a human resources manager made its way back to members of staff.
The company denied there was any racist or religious comments.
In its written judgment, the employment tribunal judge Stewart Watt said: "The tribunal has no doubt that this conduct viewed in any reasonable way must have the objective effect of violating Mr Lipka's dignity and creating an intimidating hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him."
The judge said the reference to Osama Bin Lipka was clearly intended to be abusive towards Mr Lipka's religion, adding that there was no proper investigation into his grievance and that the human resource manager had attempted to sweep the complaint under the carpet.
However, the claimant's constructive dismissal claim was rejected on the grounds that he left because of the shift patterns and effects on his health.
Mr Lipka, of Glasgow's south side, was awarded £15,000 for injury to his feelings, an additional £3750 as the company failed to follow the statutory grievance procedure, and £3718 interest.
Last night he said: "I feel I was treated appallingly and the public should know what goes on at these call centres and how they are treated.
"I am extremely disappointed that I didn't get an apology from RHL. I said at the beginning that was what I wanted and I am still waiting."
A spokesman for RHL, now called Response and part of Murray International Holdings, said it does not tolerate any form of harassment or discrimination.
"This was an isolated one-off incident, which allegedly occurred several years ago in a small office within a very large company which employs over 2000 people.
"The allegations, moreover, related to the acts of a handful of work colleagues of Mr Lipka, and no direct discrimination or harassment by the company was alleged to have occurred."
Source: Asian Image (English)