London, November 28: An Indian-origin man from Northampton has won a racial discrimination case against a call centre from where he was dismissed for want of an English accent.
27-year-old Chetankumar Meshram, a call centre trainer at the telecom firm 'Talk Talk Direct", has been awarded 5,000-pound compensation for the discrimination he had to endure.
Meshram, who was born in India but moved to Britain in 2005, was sent back to England just three weeks into a two-month post at the firm"s Delhi office.
“I was called into a meeting with my boss, who told me I was to be replaced with a better English speaker," he said.
“I know I speak with an accent but my job out there was to give technical advice, not to give expertise on how to communicate. It was an embarrassing and humiliating experience," he added.
With the help of the Northamptonshire Racial Equality Council, Meshram moved the court in January.
Deciding the case in Meshram"s favour last week, Bedford Employment Tribunal found that he had suffered both direct and indirect discrimination, and awarded him compensation for hurt feelings and expenses incurred during his trip to India.
Meshram, currently studying for a master"s degree in management studies at the University of Northampton, is still employed at Talk Talk"s Northampton office.
“I hope that this ruling will encourage people to select employees to carry out work based on their skills and knowledge regardless of what country they live or work in," he said.
Christopher Fray, of the equality council, who represented Mr Meshram at the tribunal, said: “Mr Meshram is an extremely friendly, intelligent, and efficient worker. It is sad that he has had to endure humiliation because he has an Indian accent."
He added: “This case delivers a clear message to the community that preconceived ideas about a person"s intelligence or ability should not be judged by the type of accent they speak with."