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What Race are ‘Foreigners?’ July 21, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, court, Debbie Jones, England, Foreigners, HSBC, immigrant, Kilroy, Kilroy-Silk, London, offensive, Race, Racism, Racist, racist comment, Schembri, Silk, UK, What Race are Foreigners.

What race are ‘foreigners?’ In a very strange story courts have decided that the term ‘foreigners’ constitutes a race and is therefore racist:

HSBC in London has lost a case of racial discrimination after a Maltese staff member objected to a comment made by a manager to a colleague.

Maltese employee Ruby Schembri, 35, took the bank to an employment tribunal after her manager told a colleague she would be voting for Robert Kilroy-Silk at the last general election because he promised to “get rid of the foreigners”, The Independent news-paper reported.

The comments of the manager, Debbie Jones, were described as “unacceptable” by bosses at the bank, yet she was cleared internally of misconduct and not disciplined. She remained at her post at HSBC’s branch in Barnet, North London, apart from a few days compulsory re-training.

The tribunal, however, unanimously decided that HSBC and Ms Jones had racially discriminated against the Maltese woman and both were ordered to pay compensation.

The case is one of the first to find that a comment not directly made to another person can constitute racism.

In her witness statement, Ms Schembri, who moved to the UK with her husband in 2004, said the incident took place in April, 2005.

Ms Schembri added: “I found Debbie’s racist comment to be offensive and very hurtful. I left the room and was on the counter. I began to cry.”

In her witness statement, Ms Jones said that all she had said was that she would vote for Mr Kilroy-Silk because he would get rid of immigrants. She denied using the word foreigners.

But the press reported that the tribunal had taken contemporaneous statement into consideration, when she admitted she had said she would vote for Mr Kilroy-Silk because he “would get rid of the foreigners”. The tribunal chairman said it was reasonable to infer that the remark showed a “substantial dislike of foreigners”.

A spokesman for HSBC UK said that Ms Schembri had won on just one of five grounds, and that Ms Jones had since been given race awareness training.

Ms Schembri from Hertfordshire told the British press: “I feel vindicated. It really hurt me.”

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