Chrysler guilty of race bias against Palestinian refugee
By Robert Verkaik,
Legal Affairs Correspondent
May 21, 2003
A man of Palestinian descent, whose computer password at work was
changed to "suicide bomber", has won an estimated £100,000
from his employer for race discrimination.
Khalid Jayyosi, 28, from north London, was subjected to sustained
racial abuse as an IT supervisor at Daimler Chrysler's car plant
headquarters in Milton Keynes between 2001 and 2002.
Staff there referred to him as a bomb-maker, suggested he return
to the Sangatte asylum-seeker camp in France if he did not like
the UK and, just six weeks before he was sacked, told him his computer
password had been changed to "suicide bomber." An employment
tribunal in Bedford ruled that Daimler Chrysler had racially discriminated
against Mr Jayyosi by the procedures it had used to "exit"
him from the company.
The tribunal also found the racial abuse was more likely at a company
such as Daimler Chrysler which lacked "any clear demonstrable
commitment to equality of opportunity". The company had a "one
paragraph" policy on discrimination but no guidance on how
it should be applied and no staff training, the chairman of the
tribunal, Karen Monaghan, said in a 21-page ruling.
Mr Jayyosi, a Bahraini national of Palestinian origin, came to
Britain in 1992 as an asylum-seeker. He was granted refugee status
in 2002 but started at Daimler Chrysler in August 2001 as a research
and development and implementation supervisor.
He made clear to colleagues and managers that he was committed
to the Palestinian cause. He wore a Palestinian scarf, "Free
Palestine" badges, sent e-mails to colleagues about pro-Palestine
marches, and his computer screensaver was a boy throwing a stone
at an Israeli tank.
But Mr Jayyosi told the tribunal that after the terrorist attacks
on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon he was regarded as a
security risk. To help secure asylum in Britain he asked his employer
to provide him with a letter of support to the Home Office. His
managers never provided such a letter and instead treated his request
Despite Mr Jayyosi's excellent appraisals Daimler Chrysler began
a deliberate campaign to remove him from the company. The tribunal
found that managers decided first to "exit" Mr Jayyosi,
then decided how to do it. The company chose redundancy.
The tribunal said: "We reject the respondent's explanation
for the dismissal. Redundancy was the name given to a pre- decided
dismissal. The redundancy process, we find, was a sham. It resulted
in the loss of one job, the applicant's." The damages, expected
to be between £100,000 and £500,000, will be decided
A spokeswoman for Daimler Chrysler said: "The company denies
it discriminated unlawfully. We value the unique background, heritage,
beliefs, values, needs, experience, skills, personality and lifestyle
of every one of our employees."