Favouritism warning for Olympics

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IT could be a new Olympic sport - dodging discrimination claims from sports fans.

Bosses are being warned to be aware of multi-cultural issues among people supporting competing countries and taking time off during the Games.

‘Banter’, sporting memorabilia and wearing team colours are all potential minefields, according to David Gordon, head of employment law at Atteys Solicitors.

He said: “It’s possible that some businesses will be thinking ‘Team GB’ and will assume their staff only want to watch events featuring the Great Britain team.

“But there are likely to be people that support other countries and if employers give preferential treatment to employees who request time off to watch Team GB as opposed to other nations, this could give rise to a claim.

“People should also take care when it comes to ‘banter’ when GB are competing against other nations.

“What some people may perceive as a joke could be seen as racial harassment by others, particularly if the comment relates to their country of origin.

“Another thing to watch for is nationalistic memorabilia in offices. If employees are allowed to dress down in particular clothes such as team GB colours, then other employees of different nationalities should be allowed to dress down in colours of their choice.

“As a general guide, if employers are thinking of celebrating the Olympics at work then they need to ensure these celebrations take into account everyone they employ and their potential preferences, not just the Team GB dimension.”