Race discrimination claim by sales assistant costs Sadie Frost boutique chain £5,000

A sales assistant who claimed she was fired from a fashion boutique owned by Sadie Frost because of the colour of her skin was awarded more than £5,000 compensation.

A central London employment tribunal heard the German-born Aba Yankah, of African descent, had been brought in via a recruitment agency during Christmas last year. Conversation with the store manager Sharon O’Connor had been friendly over the phone, but the latter became ‘tense and distant’ after meeting her face-to-face, Yankah said.

The sales assistant and stylist, who has almost 15 years’ experience with fashion, was asked to leave after three hours and go to a sister FrostFrench store in Carnaby Street, where she cleared up rodent droppings in the basement, the hearing was told. When she arrived at work the following day, she was accused of mucking around at the Carnaby Street shop.

Yankah was awarded £3,750 for injury to feelings for race discrimination and £2,112 for loss of earnings.

Neither Jemima French nor Frost, the chain’s owners, attended the hearing, and have denied the allegations of racism in a written response to the tribunal. Reports say Frost is “deeply upset”.

A FrostFrench spokeswoman said: “FrostFrench is a multicultural company with a strong commitment to racial equality.”

She added that the company would not appeal the decision.

In this clip, Pinsent Masons employment lawyer Leah de Vries comments on the FrostFrench case and the damage to reputation and brand caused by high profile tribunal claims of this kind.


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