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Woman sues Brit law firm for race discrimination

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 17:50

London: A woman of Pakistani-origin has
sued her employer, a British law firm, for racial
discrimination alleging that one of the bosses made offensive
remarks while another called her "Paki" following the Mumbai
terror attack.

Jasmine Akhtar, 28, is seeking damages after claiming
that she was subjected to months of taunts and intimidation by
three partners at London-based Goodge Law, which specialises
in personal accident and injury.
According to a report in The Daily Telegraph, Akhtar
claimed that she was also treated unsympathetically when she
suffered pregnancy-related problems and was bullied into
missing a scan.

Akhtar, who earned 23,000 pounds a year, told an
industrial tribunal that she was "stunned" when one of the
partners, Josephine Michaels, made a racially-offensive remark
after the Mumbai attacks.

Akhtar said on hearing about the horrific events she
commented to Michaels that she could not understand how
someone could do such a thing.

But Michaels replied: "Well you should know - it`s
always your lot, you are a Paki aren`t you?" Akhtar, who
joined the firm in July 2008, told the Kingsway Tribunal in
central London.

"I was deeply offended," she said.

She also claimed that another partner, Michael
Greenstein, also made racially-offensive remarks targeting
her, asking her on one occasion if she thought Asian clients
were from "Paki land".

She said she felt singled out as the only member of
the team of Pakistani and Muslim origin.
She also said she was treated unsympathetically by the
third partner, Rajesh Kalia, when she was pregnant.

But Richard Samuel, representing Goodge Law, claimed
Akhtar had a good relationship with her bosses.

He said she had sent emails to Greenstein in which she
referred to him being Jewish.

In one email where he joked about throwing wet sponges
at her, she replied: "Typical Jewish behaviour, always first
in line to hit a Muslim".

In another email she told Greenstein: "Stop picking
and choosing, stop behaving like a Muslim, it`s embarrassing".


First Published: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 - 17:50

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