A black typing manager at the Ministry of Justice was forced out of her job after a colleague called her a “golliwog”, a tribunal heard.
Susan Nicolls, 57, who had worked as a typist for 35 years, including 18 years at the department, claimed postroom messenger Carole Robinson told to her to “hurry up, golliwog” as she approached the sorting office.
Nicolls said she was victimised by senior staff who forced her to quit her job because she had complained. She was allegedly told to leave if she did not want to meet Robinson again. Eventually, she took voluntary retirement but is now claiming unfair dismissal and racial discrimination.
According to the Telegraph, Nicolls told the tribunal: “As I approached the postroom, I heard Carole Robinson saying ‘hurry up, golliwog’. She had her back to me and I said ‘I heard that.’
“She turned around saying she was sorry and did not mean to say that. When she said it she did not realise I was there. I told her to forget it.”
Nicolls was so “shocked, disappointed and ashamed” it took her four days to report the incident to her line manager, who later told her to “get over it”.
Last year, Nicolls was told she could either take early retirement or apply for an admin job, due to an internal restructure.
Robinson was sent on a diversity awareness course but received no other punishment, the court heard. But counsel for the department, Simon Murray, said Robinson had been disciplined by being given a written warning.
The case continues.