A Chinese NHS IT department worker won a £30,000 ($37,500) lawsuit against his colleague who repeatedly made “kung fu noises” at him while putting on an accent and talking about the Chinese beer Tsing Tao.
Sandy Sheun, who worked in the IT department at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for 10 years, claimed his colleague Stephen Baldwin made the gestures while they were at work, according to Daily Mail.
Sheun, a senior engineer at the NHS Trust, said he would often hear his colleagues talk about martial arts films and at one point, he heard Baldwin make “stereotypical martial arts noises in a humorous way”
“As part of the discussion, Mr Baldwin used a stereotypical vocalisation, typical of early Chinese martial arts films and used most often by the actor Bruce Lee,” the employment tribunal said. “This is supposed to have been a regular occurrence between November 2016 and December 2018.”
Sheun filed a complaint against Baldwin, who denied the allegations. He was only given a formal warning. The computer engineer then took the NHS trust to the tribunal, claiming race discrimination, but lawyers for the NHS claimed Sheun was “over sensitive.”
Even though the panel dismissed several claims made by Sheun, including being referred to Chinese as “communist bastards” by his colleagues and impersonations made from the “Indiana Jones” and “Police Academy” films, the panel decided he was a victim of racial discrimination.
Sheun also told the tribunal of the abuse he endured growing up in the west of England.
“The mimicking of the accents of people China when speaking English of course refers to their Chinese ethnicity. Further, Chinese martial arts and the films that feature them are so closely associated with Chinese ethnicity and culture that any reference to those is likely to relate to the Chinese race.”
However, the tribunal found that Baldwin did not make the comments or noises to distress Sheun as “They appear to be efforts at misguided humor and appear to be without malice.”
“There is ample evidence to suggest that Mr Sheun did feel his dignity to be undermined,” the panel said. “(He) has suffered harassment in his earlier life and, moreover, harassment of a very similar nature to that which he is complaining of in this case.”
“We reject any submission that the claimant is ‘over sensitive.’”
Images via Daily Mail