Wellington: Two Indian Sikh tow truck drivers in New Zealand are taking their former boss to the Human Rights Commission over “all Sikhs are terrorists” and other racial abuses, which were hurled at them by a manager in the company.
Raminder Singh and Sumit Nandpuri said Pam Watson, owner and managing director of Southern Districts Towing in Auckland, neither took any action nor gave any apology after racial abuse by a manager in the company, stuff.co.nz reported.
Singh said he resigned in November 2022 after his new manager told him “all Sikhs are terrorists”.
Nandpuri added that the manager overheard a discussion with a colleague and chimed in to say “Is that why your Punjab is f****d? Is that why you guys are going backwards?”, the website reported.
Nandpuri, who had worked with the company for over five years, said it was the fifth incident of racism he had experienced there, and he quit because he felt their complaints were not taken seriously.
Nandpuri said when he told Watson that he intends to take legal advice, she shouted: “Do you want to ruin my business?”, and asked him to file a complaint in writing to her.
According to the report, she also told him that he shouldn’t “dictate her business”, when he asked how he could keep working under the manager.
At a meeting with Watson and her deputy, Singh said he was asked if he had discussed the Queen’s death and whether it would mean an extra day’s leave.
Days after the meeting, Watson wrote to them that she had conducted a “thorough investigation and review of this matter” and had “taken appropriate action to prevent this matter from occurring again”, the stuff.co.nz reported.
She did not divulge what action had been taken and told them both that the incident has to be kept confidential.
Watson did not give any apology and the manager continued to work for the company.
Singh said that both he and Nandpuri were made to feel like criminals.
“This outcome is like a slap in the face… It has hurt me mentally and emotionally,” Singh told stuff.co.nz.
The Human Rights Commission will hold a mediation hearing in March.
In case a conclusion is not reached, the complaint will then be referred to the Human Rights Review Tribunal.