Employment tribunal orders Benham General Engineering to pay victim £34,000

An electrical engineering firm in Essex has been ordered to pay almost £34,000 in compensation for racially abusing an employee.

Pauline Taylor, a mixed-race technician at Benham General Engineering in Maldon, Essex, was racially taunted and bullied by co-workers for eight years.

Taylor was referred to as a “nigger” by other employees at the firm, and labelled a “token black” after her picture appeared in the company brochure.

Literature from the British National party was placed at her workstation and co-workers openly discussed the party’s extreme nationalist policies in her presence.

Taylor, 61, was forced to work in an unheated part of the building, and when she brought in an electric heater it was confiscated by management.

She took her concerns to a regional office of construction union Ucatt, who assisted Taylor in bringing an employment tribunal with her employers.

The tribunal ordered the company to pay Taylor a total of £33,937.38 in compensation. In its defence, the company said it did not realise Taylor was mixed-race and accused her of changing her appearance to accentuate her colouring in the courtroom. For this, it was ordered to pay an additional £5,000.

Alan Ritchie, Ucatt general secretary, said: “This shocking case underlines that racism still exists in the workplace.”

The company, which also trades as Dantech and Ors, must now consult with the Commission for Racial Equality to ensure that all its employees undergo diversity training and learn how to handle discrimination complaints.

It was also told to keep Taylor informed of these courses. She will not return to work until they are completed and if they are not conducted she will receive further damages.