An employment tribunal has dismissed a bus driver from Liverpudlian who was working in the Shetland Islands. He claimed that his boss had mocked him with Harry Enfield’s famous sketch, ‘Scousers’.
Antony Ryan, a Merseyside native, felt ‘insulted” after Margaret Robertson told him to calm down and relax.
Enfield’s impression had the moustachioed, well-dressed, and shell-suited ‘Scousers’ almost at the brink of a fight before one calmed the tension with the famous catchphrase, ‘eh alright, alright. Calm down, calm down.
Coach driver Antony Ryan took his employers R Robertson & Son to a tribunal after he was sacked for unauthorised leave. He claimed that he was upset by a jibe at scousers.
Ryan was so offended by the stereotype that he thought was a reference to it, he missed two days of work and was later fired for unauthorised absence from his Scottish-based company.
The company was then taken to an employment tribunal.
His claims were rejected. The panel ruled that he did not discriminate against his race because he was not mocked about his English national origin’.
Mr Ryan first started working for R Robertson & Son Ltd, a coach hire service operating in Shetland, Scotland, in August 2020.
During a grievance hearing, the panel was informed that Mrs Robertson mocked Mr Ryan’s accent and told Lee Cox and another colleague: ‘You boys need go and calm down.
The tribunal was held remotely from Scotland and heard that Ryan was ‘extremely offended, ‘insulted,’ and believed he was being ‘discriminated towards and ridiculed.
Ryan was so stressed that he sent a text to his family saying: ‘I feel so humiliated and disgusted at the moment and am not in a good mood to work at the moment.
The tribunal heard that he did not show up the next day.
He was fired in January for ‘inappropriate behavior’ and ‘unauthorized absence’.
Ryan then filed numerous claims against his former employer, including discrimination based on protected characteristic of race (nationality).
He claimed that if he hadn’t been treated in an unprofessional way, he wouldn’t have felt ‘insulted and ridiculed’ and would have not missed work those two days.
However, the panel headed by James Young, an employment judge concluded that it was not a medical excuse to miss work.
It found that Ryan was not discriminated because the comment was based on Ryan’s Liverpool heritage and not England.
Robertsons, located in Yell, Shetland Island, is a popular coach firm for tourists and islanders alike.
It concluded that ‘The catchphrase’ referred to the use of ‘calm down and calm down’ in a Liverpool accent.
“The use of these words is the sole basis for a discrimination claim.”
‘Mr Ryan hails from Liverpool and it’s because he is from that city that the offense was committed.
“I agree that the alleged comment could make fun of Ryan as a Liverpudlian, but not as an English person.
“I don’t consider that simply because that City is based in England.” Ryan was mocked for being English, and so mocked because of his nationality.
“The alleged words used could only be a specific comic stereotype of a Liverpudlian, and not directly or indirectly a reference to nationality.
“The comment might have been unprofessional, uncalled for, but it is not discriminatory because it was not mocking of the claimant based on his nationality, which was English.
“The phrase used was not indicative that discrimination was being made against English people, so the claimant cannot have been discriminated against.”