2 Filipino Women in UK Awarded £19,000 Over Discrimination Claims at Work

A complaint by two Filipino women who were allegedly subjected to racial and sexual discrimination while working in a restaurant chain have been settled out of court in Northern Ireland.

Karen Cahalig and Maria Galvan, have settled with their former employer Herbel Restaurants Limited have for £19,000 without admission of liability. Both claimed their employer unlawfully withheld their wages and they were later dismissed from their jobs.

Cahalig and Galvan had worked for Herbel Restaurants Limited in their chain of KFC restaurants in Belfast. They underwent the company’s Management Training Programme before they felt compelled to leave their jobs, according to Belfast Live, due to what they considered to be harassment and racial and sexual discrimination.

Under the settlement terms, Ms Galvan received £10,000 and Ms Cahalig £9,000.

Herbel Restaurants Limited likewise agreed to meet with the Equality Commission to review its practices and procedures on equal opportunities.

Galvan worked for the Herbel Restaurants Limited from 2004 to 2013 and alleged that she was subjected to verbal abuse and received significantly less favorable treatment compared to local workers. She eventually decided to leave her job as a general manager.

Cahalig worked for KFC from 2007 to 2013 and was working as a trainee manager and also cited discrimination in terms of pay, unfair treatment at work, racial harassment and unwanted gender based comments that prompted her to resign from her job as well.

Photo credit:  Belfast Live
Photo credit: Belfast Live

Dr Michael Wardlow, chief commissioner of the Equality Commission, said: “This case shines a light on an important area of work for us.

“Race discrimination is consistently amongst the top three types of discrimination about which the Commission receives complaints.

“The majority of the race discrimination enquiries the Commission receives are about employment or the workplace and many of these involve racial harassment.

“Employers are, for the most part, aware of the laws protecting workers against race discrimination but they must also ensure that they have robust policies in place to give effect to that protection.

“An important part of these settlements, as with so many of the cases we settle, is the agreement by the company to meet with the Commission and ensure its policies, practices and procedures are effective and conform with all the requirements of equality legislation. “The Commission’s advice and guidance services for employers are a key part of our work to promote full equality of opportunity for all workers in Northern Ireland and to combat race discrimination.”