SHEFFIELD Council said ‘lessons have been learnt’ after an employment tribunal found it did not do enough to protect a social worker from harassment and racist abuse by an unruly youngster.
Ghasem Norouzi, of Iranian descent, worked for the council at a home for troubled children, where he was mocked and his accent mimicked by a girl. Mr Norouzi went on sick and never returned.
Mr Norouzi said the council let the racist behaviour persist by ‘not investigating or challenging it properly’ and it did not offer enough support to victims of racist abuse.
His claim was upheld by an employment tribunal. Mr Norouzi can now claim compensation.
A Sheffield Council spokeswoman said: “The council accepts the findings of the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal. This is a very unfortunate case because it concerns a very vulnerable young person and one of our employee.
“There can be no winners in this type of litigation but lessons have been learnt. As an organisation we have already responded positively to address the issues in this case by implementing in early 2010 a policy intended to limit the likelihood of this situation ever recurring.
“The council notes the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s guidance to other tribunals that ‘the employer should indeed not too readily be liable for conduct by third parties which is in truth a hazard of the job’; we regret Mr Norouzi’s experience in his work.”