Sky employee wins unfair dismissal case
Sky employee who told colleague that two young girls wearing short skirts would be raped ‘if this was Pakistan’ wins unfair dismissal case
- Raja Minhas, 44, made comments while working at stand in Lancashire in 2019
- Employees working at shopping centre to drum up business for Sky products
- He was dismissed by Sky for gross misconduct and ‘violating common decency’
- Tribunal judge said Mr Minhas made a ‘foolish remark’ but ruled dismissal unfair
A Sky employee who told a colleague that two young girls wearing short skirts would be raped ‘if this was Pakistan’ has won an unfair dismissal case.
Retail advisor Raja Minhas, 44, made the comments about the teenagers as they walked past his shopping centre stand in Blackburn, Lancashire, in June 2019.
He was accused of saying that ‘girls in general who wear skirts like that and then get raped, it’s their own fault’, the tribunal heard.
Mr Minhas was working with his colleague, Mia Klemetti, at the time to drum up business for Sky products, the hearing was told.
The alleged comments sparked a heated row between Mr Minhas and Ms Klemetti, who said she would ‘rethink’ what she would wear when she worked with him again.
Raja Minhas (pictured above), 44, made the comments about the teenagers as they walked past his shopping centre stand in Blackburn, Lancashire, in June 2019
Mr Minhas, who is originally from Pakistan, told investigators: ‘I saw two girls walking past, both girls were dressed inappropriately.
‘You could see the outline of their bodies. I mentioned that if this were Pakistan, people would be looking and it’s like an open invitation to be getting raped.’
He later said he thought the conversation with Ms Klemetti was simply an exchange between two colleagues and he ‘regretted’ upsetting her.
The pair were joined by an off-duty colleague Farhan Qudeer in the middle of their argument.
A complaint was then made to his bosses and in an interview Mr Minhas said his comment was a ‘momentary lapse of judgment’ which would not be repeated and which he regretted.
However, he repeated that if girls ‘dress like that sick people might take advantage.’
Ms Klemetti said during her interview she believed a woman should be able to wear what she wanted, and that ‘no one should be talking about rape on the basis that it is someone’s fault because of what they wear.’
She accepted their discussion had become ‘heated’ and confirmed it had upset her.
Ms Klemetti added that the claimant was ‘not a bad guy’ and he was entitled to his opinion.
Mr Minhas was described as ‘contrite, apologetic, and full of remorse’ but was dismissed by Sky for gross misconduct and ‘violating common decency’.
A tribunal judge has now ruled that dismissal was unfair.
Employment tribunal judge Mr Robinson said: ‘The claimant made a foolish remark in the context of a discussion with Ms Klemetti about people’s dress generally.
Mr Minhas was working with his colleague, Mia Klemetti, at a shopping centre stand to drum up business for Sky products, the hearing was told (file photo)
‘The claimant had strong views about the issue and he expressed them in forceful terms to his work colleague and she vociferously opposed them.
‘The conversation was ten to fifteen minutes long and became heated. He came to regret it when he realised that the matter was being taken seriously.
‘Up to that point he thought that he was having an informal chat, which would be taken no further.’
The judge said the dismissal was unfair as the two colleagues were talking to each other and not to any member of the public or indeed any other Sky employee.
He said Ms Klemetti herself did not complain and, when giving evidence to the tribunal, she did not believe it would go as far as it did.
But he added: ‘The claimant was guilty of some misconduct because Ms Klemetti did feel that she would not dress in a certain way in front of the claimant.
‘This was a heated argument between two people who had two different views of how people should dress in public.
‘The incident did not require the claimant to be dismissed and such a sanction in all the circumstances of this case is outside the band of reasonable responses.
‘Mr Minhas never condoned rape. He had a view as to how a certain kind of dress might affect the way some men may behave.
‘Much was made by the respondent witnesses about the possibility that Sky’s brand would be damaged. That was an improbable outcome.
‘The discussion between the claimant and Ms Klemetti was a private one.’
Speaking after the verdict Mr Minhas, of Nelson, Lancashire, said he would be seeking his old job back at a remedy hearing held at a later date.
He added: ‘At the moment I don’t want to say much until after that. But I am pleased with what the tribunal has done. The main thing was to show that Sky made it out to be exaggerated which was disappointing.
‘It was something that was not nice and I am pleased it has been put right.’
Source: Read Full Article