Alleged racial slur victim ‘feels hard done by’

2017-10-25 06:02
PHOTO: SuppliedThe letter detailing the outcome of the hearing between Ndlovu and the accused.

PHOTO: SuppliedThe letter detailing the outcome of the hearing between Ndlovu and the accused.

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A MERCHANDISER at a reputable company feels hard done by the decision to only issue a written warning to the marketing manager, who allegedly racially discriminated against him.

The merchandiser, Andile Ndlovu, is also upset that the manager was not suspended during the period leading up to the hearing of the alleged racial discrimination, which made his working conditions difficult.

“Even now, after the hearing, I’m forced to work with him, which I am not happy about,” Ndlovu said.

The complainant said the incident took place on July 11 at the cash and carry supermarket on Winston Road.

Ndlovu said the accused had been called to the store to address an issue pertaining to him taking an extended lunch break.

However, he said once the matter had been resolved between himself, the supermarket manager, who had lodged the complaint about Ndlovu, and the accused, the accused then made comments referring to the difference of their race, which Ndlovu questioned. He said he then recorded the rest of the conservation between himself and the accused on his phone.

In the recorded conversation, one individual is heard asking the other: “When you tell me that you are not the same colour as me, where does that come from?”

Another individual responds: “The way you treat me ... [you] undermine me.”

According to a letter detailing the findings of the formal grievance inquiry on August 2, signed by the chairperson of the inquiry, “the voice recording is not in dispute”.

The letter further reads: “[The accused’s] version is that he was not given a chance to speak by Ndlovu, whilst discussing the issue of late coming. [The accused] stated that he said to Ndlovu ‘why are you disrespecting me, why don’t you give me a chance to speak? Is it the colour of my skin?”

The letter also states that following the incident, the accusued’s attempt to shake Ndlovu’s hand, was rejected by the aggrieved and a week later the accused had offered an apology to Ndlovu for any offensive remarks he may have uttered, but Ndlovu would not accept this apology­.
Conclusions drawn by the chair of the inquiry and outlined in the letter are that it cannot be disputed that the accused made a statement to the complainant with reference to skin colour.

“It is my belief that the reason for the statement is unfounded and in poor taste, considering the fact that the discussion was about a workplace matter. Reference to skin colour and differences also depict a sense of authority by one race over another,” the chair writes. “Maybe after this people will learn to treat each other with respect regardless of their positions, background and skin colour because at the end of the day we are all equal,” Ndlovu said. The company had not responded at the time of going to press. The accused confirmed to the Echo that he attended a formal hearing concerning the incident, but first wanted to consult management before answering anymore questions. The accused did not respond to the Echo’s questions at the time of going to press.

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