Indian wins racial abuse case against Ford

fter Sukhjit Parmar was awarded �300,000 in a racial discrimination suit three years ago, another of Ford’s ethnic Indian employees has won a similar case against the car manufacturer.

Nagra (45) has been awarded �150,000 by an employment tribunal for racial discrimination at Ford’s plant in Dagenham, London. He will also receive a medical disability pension of �12,000 a year for the rest of his life.

Two employees of the company, who were accused of racial discrimination against Nagra, have been ordered to pay him a monthly sum of �1,000.

Put together, the compensation is Britain’s largest-ever to two workers and marked the end of a six-year battle for the duo.

The tribunal’s decision comes three years after Ford paid Nagra’s colleague, Sukhjit Parmar (45), a �300,000 settlement. After that case, the car manufacturer had promised to stamp out racism at the Dagenham plant.

Nagra joined Ford in 1988 and worked in the Dagenham plant’s assembly section where he described his treatment as ‘fair’.

But in January 1995, Nagra joined Sukhjit Parmar in the engine section, where the abuse started. A small number of group leaders, foremen and supervisors gave the two a hard time.

Parmar was called ‘Paki’ and graffiti linking him with Stephen Lawrence, a black murder victim, started appearing on the walls of the plant.

Nagra was also abused when he backed Parmar’s claims. A shop steward allegedly told Nagra, “I know how to call a Paki a Paki and get away with it.”

The culprits went unpunished and the company failed to implement a ‘zero tolerance’ programme.

In its judgment, the employment tribunal in Stratford said, “The abuse that Shinder Nagra suffered, took place over an extended period and was both humiliating and intimidatory. Ford behaved in a high-handed and oppressive manner, failing to address the appropriate matters in the aftermath of their own enquiry.”

“The so-called zero tolerance policy was, in effect, an empty gesture compounded by the failure to punish those responsible (for racial abuse) and the inappropriate way in which some of those who had transgressed were even promoted.”

In London, a spokesman for Ford said the company accepted the tribunal’s findings, but added that Nagra’s complaints had been ‘thoroughly investigated’.

“Ford regards matters of racial equality and diversity seriously and will take action against all forms of discriminatory behaviour, including racial harassment. We have conducted an examination of all aspects of the policies and procedures regarding equality and diversity and have introduced many innovative initiatives over the past three years,” the spokesman said.

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