A celebrity personal trainer has won a racial harassment tribunal after his boss told him ‘go back to Africa, blackie’.
Black Briton Michael Baah, 36, was told by his manager that she didn’t need to listen to ‘people like you’, an employment tribunal heard.
A panel heard Mr Baah, who has trained British glamour model Demi Rose, numerous Love Island and reality stars and Wayne Lineker, the playboy club owner of Match of the Day host Gary, was singled out by the boss at the luxury apartment complex gym in East London.
After raising an unsuccessful grievance, he took the firm to court. Mr Baah won claims of racial discrimination, with the tribunal finding he had been ‘humiliated’.
Michael Baah, pictured with model and Love Island star Sophie Piper, has won a racial harassment case after his boss told him ‘go back to Africa, blackie’
Mr Baah, left, who has trained British glamour model Demi Rose, together right, was singled out by the boss at the luxury apartment complex gym in East London
Michael also worked with Love Island stars Tasha Ghouri and Andrew Le Page
The East London tribunal heard Mr Baah started working as a personal trainer in November 2018 when Ballymore Asset Management’s 3,400-home Royal Wharf complex opened.
Mr Baah ‘overheard’ Liliane Gomes (pictured) talking to a friend in broken Portuguese and suspected she had used a racist phrase. The tribunal said the likely meaning of that phrase was ‘go back to Africa, blackie’
The hearing was told he was ‘popular’ and had appeared on TV, having trained the likes of Love Island stars Sophie Piper, Tasha Ghouri and Andrew Le Page.
He was pictured on Instagram training Ms Piper, sister of TV presenter Rochelle Humes.
But when Liliane Gomes joined the business, she insisted Mr Baah work at weekends like other instructors, despite an ‘existing arrangement’ he had with previous bosses which allowed him to spend time with his daughter.
The tribunal also heard Ms Gomes let a white gym instructor have a day off for a medical appointment, but refused a similar request from Mr Baah.
In August 2020 another black colleague of Mr Baah, complained to Ms Gomes about having worked by himself for a weekend.
When challenged about this, Ms Gomes ‘loudly’ said ‘I don’t need to speak to people like you,’ looking at Mr Baah as she made the comment, the panel heard.
Later that month, Mr Baah ‘overheard’ Ms Gomes talking to a friend in broken Portuguese and suspected she had used a racist phrase.
Ms Gomes denied using any racial slur, before admitting it was likely she had said ‘vai para’ – go back.
The tribunal said the likely meaning of that phrase was ‘go back to Africa, blackie’, and that Mr Baah was ‘deeply hurt by it’.
Wayne Lineker and Tasha Ghouri working out with Michael
When his boss Liliane Gomes joined the business, she insisted Mr Baa, pictured with his partner Kate, work at weekends like other instructors, despite an ‘existing arrangement’ he had with previous managers, which allowed him to spend time with his daughter
Mr Baah had a string of celebrity clients including a number of Love Island contestants
Mr Baah resigned in April 2021 after his grievance appeal and unsuccessful attempts to get the gym to agree to flexible working, complaining he was the victim of ‘blatant race discrimination’.
But the tribunal heard he agreed to stay on working part-time, with Ms Gomes going on maternity leave, and he ultimately left the gym through redundancy in December.
The tribunal concluded Mr Baah as a black man of African ethnicity was successful in claims of direct race discrimination, harassment and victimisation
Employment Judge Julia Jones concluded Ms Gomes’ handling of the weekend rota amounted to ‘less favourable treatment’ towards Mr Baah, as well as the ‘humiliating’ manner she spoke to him.
Refusing him paid leave for a medical appointment was considered racial discrimination due to the ‘absence of an adequate, credible explanation’ for her decision, having allowed a white employee time off.
Regarding the ‘blackie’ comment, the judge continued: ‘It is also our judgment that this was directed towards Mr Baah.
‘Although he was unable to speak Portuguese, the parts of the phrase he heard reasonably led him to believe his ethnicity was being referred to in a negative way by Ms Gomes to her friend.’
The tribunal concluded Mr Baah as a black man of African ethnicity was successful in claims of direct race discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
A further hearing will now take place to decide how much compensation he will be paid.
Mr Baah has since appeared on television quiz show Family Fortunes, winning £10,000 alongside relatives, and now works as an online and celebrity trainer.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12020935/Model-Demi-Roses-trainer-36-wins-tribunal-boss-told-Africa-blackie.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270