A Preston haulage company has been ordered to pay a Polish driver almost £15,000 after allegations of racial discrimination were upheld by a tribunal.
Stanislaw Kosik took legal action for unfair dismissal against Montgomery Transport of Walton Summit after he was sacked for an accident in which his lorry tipped over during a delivery.
The 53-year-old also claimed Polish workers at the company were treated differently to their British workmates and were given older vehicles to drive.
The employment tribunal in Manchester found in his favour on both counts and ordered the firm to pay him £14,850 in compensation.
After hearing the judgement, Mr Kosik said: “Losing my job unfairly was extremely stressful for myself and my family. Until it happens to you, you can’t grasp what an impact it has, especially when you have confidence in your skills and ability.
“I can now finally close the door on the whole thing and hopefully this will mean others in my situation will tackle similar troubles.”
Mr Kosic was represented by Preston-based law firm Walkers Union and backed by his trade union Unite.
The tribunal heard he was dismissed for “gross misconduct” after the accident. His employers claimed was “performing an unsafe action in reversing his vehicle causing it to overturn” and “placing his own life and those around him at risk.” But Mr Kosic claimed he had done everything in his power to avoid the accident.
Lawyer Sadiq Vohra alleged the company had not conducted an investigation resulting in a complete failure to give him a fair chance of appealing.
“The claimant’s attempts to bring the racial discrimination to the attention of his employer were also ignored,” he added. “This should serve as a warning to any employer that they need to take the rights of all employees seriously, no matter what their nationality, age or sex.
“There a number of issues relating to discrimination that couldn’t be proved in this case so I would urge those who have been treated unfairly or who have experienced some form of violation to report the incident as soon as they arise.”
No-one at the company’s HQ in Northern Ireland was available for comment.