In Sheun v Northern General Hospital (Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust), Sheun is of Chinese ethnic origin. He Grew up in a small town where there were few families of Chinese ethnic origin and had suffered regular discriminatory treatment at the hands of residents and school mates. An ET upheld Sheun’s claim of harassment related to his race in respect of two incidents; 1. in the earshot of Sheun a colleague, B, used a stereotypical vocalisation, typical of early Chinese martial arts films and used most often by the actor Bruce Lee; 2. in a discussion about the Chinese beer, Tsing Tao, B elongated the final vowel sound in the word Tao to mimic what he understood to be the Chinese way of pronouncing the word. The ET found that in mimicking the Chinese accent and making the Kung Foo noise, B did not target Sheun with the intent of causing distress – it was a case of misguided humour.
Nevertheless, B’s conduct had the effect of violating Sheun’s dignity. This was because Sheun had angrily challenged his colleague, he had made a formal complaint and in his earlier life he had suffered unwanted conduct of a very similar nature to that which he complained of in this case.
Original article ‘Mimicking Chinese accent and making Kung Foo noises was racial harassment’ Written by Makbool Javaid and Published by The HR Director
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