A MAN who suffered harassment at his workplace in Ulverston has won more than £50,000 in compensation.
And after a three strong tribunal ruled in favour of Wayne Hoch, 35, he expressed his relief that the matter was now closed and added that he hoped his case would encourage others in such a position to take similar action.
"I'm so relieved and it feels like I have a new life now," he said.
"I know now why people are reluctant to take cases like this to court as the stress was unbelievable.
"I want to encourage others you don’t need to stand for bullying or verbal racial abuse at work.
"I almost ended my life from the stress and anxiety this gave me."
In its judgment against Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrication Ltd following a hearing in April, the tribunal's unanimous ruling was that all Mr Hoch's claims, which included constructive unfair dismissal and harassment were well founded and succeeded.
And at the remedy hearing in Carlisle on Monday, Judge Bernard Hodgson announced a unanimous financial judgment awarding Mr Hoch, who was born in South Africa but came to the UK when he was 18 and now lives in Holme, a total of £54,686.
Judge Hodgson explained that £22,000 of that figure was awarded in respect of the racial harassment claim, and a number of factors had influenced this decision.
"Firstly, the nature of the comments themselves; secondly, the extent, the prolonged period over which the comments were made; thirdly, the fact that the owners of the business were complicit in - and indeed directly partook in - the conduct complained of, and found by the tribunal; and, fourthly and perhaps most significantly, the impact of the conduct on the claimant's mental health," Judge Hodgson explained.
Mr Hoch said he suffered particular stress when he received correspondence from his former employer's solicitors in respect of a laptop and associated equipment which he allegedly had not returned which led to him briefly being arrested.
And when he made the compensation award, Judge Hodgson noted that factor.
"The tribunal notes the extent of the claims made in terms of their financial value, which are undoubtedly extremely significant and therefore potentially very worrying to the individuals involved," said the judge.
"More particularly, the tribunal notes the conduct of the respondent in involving the police by making a complaint to them concerning the claimant.
"That resulted in the claimant being arrested and the consequential actions that result from such an arrest.
"None of this, so far as the evidence before the tribunal is concerned, has resulted in any further action being pursued against the claimant."