Aerospace company worker sacked for calling white colleague a ‘w*gger’, tribunal hears

Aerospace company worker was sacked for calling white colleague with a black wife and mixed race children a ‘w*gger’, tribunal hears

  • Brian Dumbrill used slur towards colleague while working for Hexcel Composite
  • Offensive term usually used to insult white youths who adopt black youth culture
  • His colleague Kevin Angus, who has a black wife, reported incident to his bosses
  • Mr Dumbrill, who worked at firm’s Duxford site in Cambs, was fired from his job
  • Now an employment judge has dismissed Mr Dumbrill’s claim of unfair dismissal
  • Judge said the firm’s process was fair and his dismissal was ‘hardly surprising’

An aerospace company worker has lost his employment appeal after he was sacked for calling a colleague a ‘w*gger’.

Brian Dumbrill was accused of using the slur against his colleague, who is white and has a black wife and mixed raced children.

The offensive term is typically used as an insult to white youths who adopt black youth culture, according to Collins Dictionary.

Colleague Kevin Angus immediately reported Mr Dumbrill to bosses, saying he was ‘extremely offended’ by the comment.

It was used in a row between the pair as they worked a night shift at the Duxford, Cambs site of Hexcel Composite – a company which produces materials used in aerospace engineering.

Following an investigation, in which Mr Dumbrill claimed he instead said ‘winger’ – someone who never does his work, he was dismissed for gross misconduct.

Mr Dumbrill, a process operator who had worked for Hexcel Composite for three years, appealed his dismissal.

But a tribunal has now ruled his dismissal was ‘fair’, while an employment judge said it was ‘hardly surprising’. 

The slur was used in a row between the pair as they worked a night shift at the Duxford, Cambs site of Hexcel Composite (pictured)

The tribunal, held in Bury St Edmunds via video link, heard that the slur was used during a night shift on 14 November 2018.

Mr Dumbrill was working on the same piece of machinery as Mr Angus when, at some point during the shift, an argument occurred. 

‘(Mr Dumbrill) was working with a number of colleagues including another process operator, Kevin Angus,’ the tribunal heard.

‘There was a verbal altercation following a work break and Mr Angus subsequently reported that (Mr Dumbrill) had called him ‘not a n****r but a w****r.’

‘The (company) considered that the term ‘w****r’ was a hybrid term incorporating ‘white’ and ‘n****r’.’ In any event it was considered to be extremely offensive.’ 

The tribunal heard Mr Angus was ‘extremely offended by the comment’ but when an investigation was launched Mr Dumbrill tried to claim he had used the word ‘winger’ instead.

He said that a ‘winger’ was someone who ‘never does his work and we all have to do it for him’.

The investigation decided that the incident was so serious it should go to a disciplinary hearing.

At the hearing Mr Dumbrill was dismissed for gross misconduct.

The company decided Mr Dumbrill had ‘failed to respect the privacy and dignity’ of his colleagues.

It said he had also breached their code of conduct by using ‘abusive language and behaviour’ which could be seen as harassment or discrimination.

Employment Judge Richard Cassel concluded that Hexcel had carried out a ‘fair’ disciplinary process and decided the conclusion to dismiss him was ‘hardly surprising’.

For that reason he determined Mr Dumbrill’s claim of unfair dismissal failed.

He continued: ‘[The company] did consider a lesser penalty but rejected it as [it] concluded that [Mr Dumbrill] showed no remorse and only conceded using the form of words that had been rejected.’