Racist bullies filled fireman's boots with urine, tribunal hears
PUBLISHED: 12:42 03 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:27 07 September 2010
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A black fireman had his helmet filled with urine and eggs and tomatoes put in his boots during a campaign of racist bullying at three fire stations including Paddington, a tribunal has heard. Jason Toal joined Paddington s Blue Watch in September 2006 aft
A black fireman had his helmet filled with urine and eggs and tomatoes put in his boots during a campaign of racist bullying at three fire stations including Paddington, a tribunal has heard.
Jason Toal joined Paddington's Blue Watch in September 2006 after colleagues at the Shoreditch and Dowgate fire stations allegedly mo-cked his accent, hurled racist taunts and scrawled abuse on his locker.
Despite winning a £20,000 out-of-court payment from the London Fire Brigade prior to the move, the 33-year-old firefighter said the campaign continued at Paddington station.
He is now bringing a second case against the fire brigade for race discrimination and victimisation. If successful, it will mean another payout running into tens of thousands of pounds.
When Mr Toal joined Paddington's Blue Watch, he found he had no proper uniform as his orders had been repeatedly ignored.
"I found this belittling and humiliating. I still had to borrow items from other firefighters - I felt let down and this was my opportunity to start afresh," he said.
After explaining why he had no uniform, Mr Toal said he was verbally abused by his crew manager.
"He called me a 'f****** lying c***'. He made it clear that he was aware of the claim I had previously brought against the brigade for race discrimination," he said.
Mr Toal also said he was disciplined by a senior manager for having a goatee beard, even though the manager himself had facial hair.
"I had the same appearance throughout my eight years in the brigade," said Mr Toal, who told the Central London Employment Tribunal that his boyhood dream was to be a fireman.
"I shaved everything off but I thought this was heavy-handed and that I was being picked on."
He also alleged that his watch manager started to "bully and harass" him. "On a number of occasions, he threatened me and said. 'If you don't play ball and drop your claim there will be physical as well as mental repercussions,'" he said.
The manager even went as far as to hurl a heavy metal board at Mr Toal, the tribunal heard.
"It could have really hurt me if it had hit me. I was shocked and stunned by this. I felt intimidated, bullied and harassed," he said.
"I have been treated very badly. The fire brigade's managers have continually failed to investigate how I have been treated."
As part of the settlement, Mr Toal had been promised he could go on a fire engine driving course to boost his career prospects.
He passed the theory test but an assessor - from the Shoreditch station where he was first discriminated against - ruled he had failed the practical. In April 2007, Mr Toal raised a formal complaint about the test but it was not upheld.
When he appealed, his watch manager said, "Don't you think it is time you just forgot all about this and let it go?".
Mr Toal brought a fresh tribunal claim in July last year. In response, his watch manager allegedly said he could no longer work with him.
Mr Toal said he was outraged when the brigade offered him a move to any other station of his choice in September last year, as he said the bully should be moved.
He has been off work suffering from stress ever since. But it is believed he is now considering see-king a move to a fourth station in the Bedfordshire area. The tribunal continues.