LONDON: Three men who racially bullied a colleague so badly that he endured psychological scars that might keep him from work for life have kept their jobs, with one even receiving a promotion.
Stuart Smith and John Cleary subjected Sikh salesman Kieran Sidhu, 36, to racist abuse, including anti-Arab slurs, in their southern England office at tech firm Exertis, but were not sacked.
Sidhu was abused on a daily basis, being called an “Arab with a shoe bomb” and told that he was associated with Daesh.
Smith’s LinkedIn profile reveals that he is still employed by the tech firm, and was promoted to the position of Amazon and online accounts director in 2020, some three years after the bullying was first investigated.
Cleary’s LinkedIn profile appears to have been disabled, but he answered the phone when UK daily newspaper Metro telephoned the office.
A third member of the bullying cabal, Glynn Smith, has a LinkedIn profile that suggests he works at Exertis.
Marketing Director Rob Fitzsimons said the company had followed up on the abuse by conducting diversity training following a thorough internal investigation.
Exertis HR Manager Sue Stratton advised the company that there was ample justification for sacking all three men along with Matt Rumsey, Sidhu’s manager, who preferred to focus on sales targets than deal with Sidhu’s concerns when they were raised.
The bullying escalated when Sidhu was promoted to account manager in January 2016, having joined in 2012.
His equipment was hidden, he endured racist chanting, and he was told that he would end up working as a male escort after being fired.
Documents allege that Cleary tried to force Sidhu to try on lingerie on the sales floor in front of colleagues, with Smith allegedly saying: “To be fair John couldn’t pimp you out for much, maybe if you lose some weight and fly you back to Syria.”
The tribunal heard that Sidhu’s colleagues often made racist jokes about him returning to the Middle East, despite his Indian descent.
Smith argued at the tribunal that he could not have been racist toward Sidhu because “he is married to somebody from Lebanon.”
Sidhu is seeking a record £6.6 million ($8.9 million) in compensation following the shocking racial harassment, which would make it the biggest payout of this kind in British history.
Sidhu left the firm in May 2017, 15 months after his promotion, when the abuse worsened. He was suffering from extreme depression and anxiety.
Psychiatrist Dr. Jonathan Ornstein said he has a “very low chance of recovery” and is “unlikely to be able to work again.”
Sidhu’s solicitor Lawrence Davies said: “The size of my client’s compensation claim reflects not only the gravity of the ordeal he suffered but the psychiatric assessment that, in all probability, his career is over.”