A woman who used racist terms at two colleagues during a workplace feud has won nearly £3,000 in damages after a judge ruled her sacking was unfair.
Anita Jarzyna, 29, described one member of staff as a “f*****g p**i, while referring to another as a “gypsy c**t”, shocking colleagues of Hypnos Beds in Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire.
She was initially suspended, but then dismissed from her role as team leader after seven staff members made complaints over her language about purchasing manager Daniel Bowler and his girlfriend Erika Mateova.
But at an industrial tribunal an employment judge ruled bosses failed to follow proper procedure and had made their decision to sack Jarzyna too quickly, without using evidence to back up claims against her.
Jarzyna attended the disciplinary hearing accompanied by her GMB union representative and was asked to respond to the racism claims.
The meeting then adjourned for 15 minutes after which she was dismissed for gross misconduct and refused an appeal hearing.
Employment judge George Alliott said that while Jarzyna “did use offensive and racist language both in and out of the workplace”, there was an “absence of any evidence”, meaning that Hypnos Beds “did not genuinely believe in the reason for dismissal”.
Alliott accepted that an appeal hearing for Jarzyna was not mandatory, but highlighted how another member of staff who was charged with theft managed to keep their job through their own appeal.
Ruling that Jarzyna’s dismissal was unfair as a result, the industrial tribunal judge ordered Hypnos Beds to pay a “basic' award” of £630 plus compensation of £2,214.90.
He also cleared Hypnos Beds of racial and sexual discrimination.
Former nightclub barmaid Jarzyna, originally from Olsztyn, Poland, shocked colleagues during a night out in a wine bar by trying to justify her racist remarks, saying: "I can say what I like – I am Polish. It’s OK to say it in Poland so why is it not OK here?”
She joined Hypnos in 2015 but fell out with Mr Bowler and and Miss Mateova, who worked as a knitwork designer at the firm.
The tribunal was told Miss Mateova had hoped to get the team leader's job but her rival was given the post instead and it caused “antipathy between them”.
In November 2019 Mr Bowler and Miss Mateova raised grievances against Jarzyna over comments she made in the wine bar whilst gossiping to other colleagues the previous month.
One Hypnos Beds staff member, who is Polish and wanted to remain anonymous, said: “The main problem with Anita is she just doesn’t like anybody.
“I’ve often heard her talking badly about Erika, she always calls her a 'gypsy' to the rest of the sewing team but everybody is too scared to come and tell you.
“She is mean to most people.”
Jarzyna conceded that she had gone to the wine bar and gossiped about Mr Bowler but denied calling him a “f*****g p**i”, claiming he used the racial slur instead on a different occasion towards another staff member.
She also claimed Mr Bowler was lying to get her fired and had called her a “Polish cow”.