Jews too (was Re: Ukrainians in German Uniforms)
polemic at SPAMgraffiti.net
Tue Jan 30 22:23:58 MST 2001
Tuesday January 30, 2001
A leading city firm has admitted that a Jewish broker, whose grandmother was murdered
by the Nazis at Auschwitz, was told to wear an Adolf Hitler uniform at work, the
Guardian has learned. Laurent Weinberger, 33, is suing Tullett & Tokyo Liberty for
racial discrimination and unfair dismissal claiming that he was also subjected to
repeated anti-semitic abuse.
According to documents seen by the Guardian the firm admits that Mr
Weinberger was handed a German uniform to wear, and that he was called
"Yiddo" and "Jew boy".
Mr Weinberger resigned from his job with the money brokers two weeks after
the Hitler uniform incident. He claims an attempt was made to demote him
from his £125,000-a-year job after six years with the firm.
Tullett & Tokyo denies the claim, arguing that the incidents were part of
the office culture Mr Weinberger joined in with, and a preliminary
employment tribunal hearing is due to start tomorrow.
Tullett & Tokyo has offered to pay £50,000 to a Jewish charity if he drops
In its defence, the firm says Mr Weinberger was not singled out because of
his race. "It is admitted that there was a practice on the [company's]
trading desks that if any employee was late in to work on Friday morning
they would be given a costume to wear as a forfeit. The practice was a
"The choice of costume might refer to a particular characteristic of the
employee concerned, including on occasion his racial or ethnic origins. By
way of example: a Welsh employee, Phil Gould, was given a Bo Peep costume to wear
because of its association with sheep and, in the brokers' jestings, their association
of sheep with Wales.
"A Northern Irish protestant employee, Steven Duff, was given a Pope costume to wear.
The applicant was the (or certainly an) instigator of the choice of this costume. In
this respect also the applicant was treated no differently from [other] employees."
The firm's own account of Mr Weinberger being handed the Hitler uniform on
May 12 last year reads: "Shortly after his arrival, the applicant was handed a bag
containing a second world war German army uniform costume by the third respondent
[Simon Curry, a fellow broker] for the applicant to wear as his forfeit. The applicant
refused to wear the costume."
The company says that a week later it decided that the new issue desk, where Mr
Weinberger had been working, was performing poorly and he would have to move to
another section and take a pay cut.
On May 21 Mr Weinberger resigned alleging "wrongful and unfair dismissal and racial
In its defence Tullett&Tokyo admits that Mr Weinberger was called "Yiddo"
and "Jew boy" by a manager and colleague. "The working environment on the
first respondent's trading desks involved a lot of banter, including strong
language, name calling and references to personal characteristics or actual
(or alleged) habits much of which was in bad taste.
"The banter might be general, it might refer to a particular characteristic
of an employee or it might on occasion refer to an employee's racial or
ethnic origins. For example calling Welsh employees .... 'Welsh', 'Taffy
Twat' and 'Sheepshagger'.
"It is specifically denied that on a continuing basis since 1997 the
applicant was called 'Yiddo', 'Jew boy' and 'Jewey' by employees of the
company if it is meant to suggest that the applicant was singled out for
such treatment or subjected to it maliciously."
Tullett & Tokyo declined to answer questions, but released a copy of a
letter sent by their lawyers to Mr Weinberger last week offering settlement.
In it they say the Hitler costume was "wholly inappropriate" but add that
"we do not believe that this misguided behaviour amounted to race
discrimination. Nor do we believe you held that belief at the time".
In the letter Tullett & Tokyo say that those involved in the Hitler uniform
incident have received written warnings and that the Friday costumes
practice has been ended: "To emphasise how inappropriate was this behaviour
and to bring an end to these proceedings we are prepared to pay £50,000 to a Jewish
charity (to be agreed between us) if you will withdraw your claim. We do not relish
the prospect of the fight for obvious reasons, but we will not be blackmailed."
The company claims that Mr Weinberger abused colleagues of Jewish, Welsh and Scottish
Neither Mr Weinberger nor his solicitors would comment ahead of tomorrow's
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