A London industrial tribunal unanimously agreed that the former employee was racially abused by his manager at the time
A young black ex-Carphone Warehouse worker Daniel Foster has won a case of race discrimination brought against the manager of the Kensington High Street branch.
A London industrial tribunal unanimously agreed that Foster had been racially abused by his manager Alyanora Abdalla.
Foster (23) started working for Carphone Warehouse in June 2019 as a customer services assistant. He was employed on a three-month probationary period.
He was dismissed at the end of his probationary period last September for allegedly not meeting targets. He claimed harassment by the new branch manager Abdalla, who had started at the store a week earlier who said his manner and attitude were “unsuited to the area’s clientele and did not indicate that he wanted to learn”.
Foster denied the criticisms. He said he had never been properly supported and trained because of the lack of a dedicated store manager.
This was Ms Abdalla’s first management position at Carphone Warehouse, although she had worked as a manager for other companies.
She had been trained the previous three months in the Brixton store. The tribunal heard evidence she was aggressive towards him, “displayed a negative attitude towards him, and undermined him by being rude to him in front of customers.”
Abdalla told the tribunal the store was not seen as a problem store. It was neither performing poorly nor exceeding targets.
She said she had a ‘90-day plan’ in mind. The plan for the first month was to observe the staff from a distance to see how they were performing. She would then consider over the next month what changes needed to be implemented, and she would use the third month to review the effect of any changes she had made.
Her aim was to improve performance, ensure systems compliance and ensure staff were happy. During her evidence to the tribunal, Ms Abdalla said that she loved giving coaching and feedback, and that she did it instinctively.
Abdalla told the tribunal that she was trying to set a precedent for behaviour.
The tribunal record stated: “This is all about the tone in which Ms Abdalla spoke to Mr Foster, especially as it was in front of customers. We accept that Ms Abdalla did adopt a rude and peremptory tone in this exchange.
“Mr Foster was sufficiently upset to speak to Natalie and then Cameron about it. He repeated his complaint in his grievance meeting after dismissal. He had not complained in the previous 11 weeks about how anyone else spoke to him.
“Mr Foster says that as well as the above specific incidents, Ms Abdalla had been negative and aggressive towards him all day. We find that she did display that manner towards him. It is consistent with her manner in pulling him up on his lateness, as soon as he arrived, in a hostile manner and on the very first occasion they worked together.
“It is consistent with his description in the grievance meeting about how she kept sighing and saying ‘Why are you not helping me?’ It is also consistent with her negative approach in the final review meeting that he should have known how to do more than he did.”