A care worker who referred to an Asian colleague as “popadom” after forgetting her name has resigned in protest at being asked to attend an anti-racism course.
Rebecca Miles was working in a centre for victims of racism and domestic violence when she was accused of making the racist remark, reports the London Evening Standard.
She had been discussing the case of a Bangladeshi woman with her colleagues when she forgot the name of the interpreter. Miles then said: “It was Pamala, Popalam or Popadom – something like that.”
The former legal secretary was reportedly asked to attend a meeting at which she was told she could only remain in the job if she attended anti-racism lessons and wrote an essay on the Stephen Lawrence case.
Despite admitting that her remark was silly, Miles then resigned in protest.
She told the Standard: “I agree it was a flippant, silly remark, but I did not intend it to be racist and I am genuinely sorry if it caused real offence.
“During the meeting I was reminded of the Macpherson report about the Stephen Lawrence case. I was appalled they could make a parallel with the handling of the investigation into the murder of a child.”
Victim Support said it was confident the case had been handled correctly.
Its director, Paul Dowling, told the Standard: “Bearing in mind the work we do and the areas we focus on, including racial harassment, we have to have a stringent approach to these things.
“We would be open to criticism if we had not challenged her behaviour,” he said.