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British Indian woman slams racism case against ING bank December 1, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Discriminate, Discrimination, Indian, Lawsuit.

London, Dec 1: A British Indian woman working in a London bank is demanding over 100,000 pounds in compensation alleging that she has been a target of racism while at work.

Meena Sagoo, 42, has alleged that her boss in ING Services Ltd referred to her and a male colleague as the ‘Kumars At No. 42’ after the popular TV comedy show of the same name, according to reports.

“I was sitting in an open-plan office and a Sri Lankan male colleague was there too. Richard came up to us and said, ‘Do you realise what we call you two? We call you The Kumars At No 42.’

“I did not think it was very amusing but I had only just joined and did not dare say anything,” a report in the Evening Standard quoted Sagoo as saying.

Sagoo, a vice president in the bank with a 80,000 pounds-a-year salary, said that managing director Richard Mutter also called another British Indian worker, Brij Bharati, as ‘Bhindi Bhaji’ after the popular Indian dish.

“I said, ‘Actually Richard, his name is Brij Bharati. It can’t be that difficult to pronounce. Some things never change do they?’

“Richard was smirking and thought it was a joke. I could not believe what I was hearing,” the newspaper quoted her as saying.

Sagoo has also alleged that she was also discriminated against in her career. She said that she had met Mutter in June 2004 to discuss her career development.

“I think that he was a bit startled when he asked me whether I would be interested in doing his job, when I said, ‘I want to go much higher in the organisation’,” another report in the Independent quoted her as saying.

“I also told him that there appeared to be no racial diversity at the senior levels within ING.”

She said that she applied for promotion in early 2005 but was not interviewed by Mutter.

Sagoo, hailing from the west London borough of Hounslow, had joined the bank in 2002 and was made a vice president a year later. She developed computer systems for the bank’s human resources team.

In May last year, she was demoted and in October this year she became the only member of staff to be transferred to another company.

She said that she has been staying off work since then due to depression.

This is the second racism case ING is faced with in quick succession.

Last week, Britain’s employment tribunal ordered the bank to pay a 20,000 pound compensation to Allan Ho, a Chinese worker, who also claimed racial harassment in office.

Both Mutter and the bank have denied Sagoo’s allegations.

According to the Independent, the bank issued a statement: “Sagoo made a number of allegations… not all of which were previously raised with us in her grievance. Where allegations were raised, they were extensively and properly investigated by ING.

“Her grievance was not upheld and ING strongly denies that she has been discriminated against. ING is committed to a clear and open policy of respecting diversity in the workplace,” the bank stated.

ING had entered investment banking in 1995 taking over the loss-making British bank Barings.

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Newkerala.com

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