Former NCT worker alleges racial abuse

Vehicle tester alleged staff at Deansgrange NCT in Dublin made ‘monkey sounds’

File image of employee at NCT centre. An employee of the Deansgrange centre has alleged he was racially abused by other staff who made “monkey noises” and used the word “nigger” in his presence. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

File image of employee at NCT centre. An employee of the Deansgrange centre has alleged he was racially abused by other staff who made “monkey noises” and used the word “nigger” in his presence. Photograph: David Sleator/The Irish Times

Wed, Jan 15, 2014, 11:02


An employee of an NCT test centre has alleged he was racially abused by other staff who made “monkey noises” and used the word “nigger” in his presence.

Brian Karra, of Blainroe Upper, Wicklow, alleged colleagues at the Deansgrange testing centre in south Dublin made the noises as he was inspecting vehicles.

He also claimed that when he went to the staff canteen on May 4th, 2012, he overheard a colleague in the canteen use the word “nigger”.

Mr Karra’s case alleging unfair dismissal opened at the Employment Appeals Tribunal yesterday.

At the hearing, Applus National Car Testing Service Ltd, which runs the Deansgrange centre, said it accepted it dismissed Mr Karra by letter last month.

‘Harassment’
Elaine Bird, human resources manager with the company, told counsel for Applus Paul Twomey that Mr Karra had been dismissed in part because of “harassment” of his colleagues, some of whom had complained they were intimidated and did not want to talk to him in case he complained about them.

Ms Bird said Mr Karra had originally made a non-racism-related complaint about a colleague, when he worked in the Arklow NCT centre in 2008. But the company found no “substantial evidence” to back it up.

Following the second complaint in May 2012, in Deansgrange, the company set up an inquiry and interviewed 12 people, including Mr Karra, who were witnesses to the conversation.

The inquiry determined the word used was “knacker” and not “nigger” and the person who allegedly used the word was not disciplined.

Ms Bird said the remark was not aimed at Mr Karra, and had been used in relation to an anecdote concerning children kicking dustbins outside a man’s house. A joint statement to this effect was signed by the other 11 witnesses to the conversation.

She said Applus employed people from a range of backgrounds and it would make no sense for it to condone racism. She said it had a firm policy on racism.

She said Mr Karra later went on sick leave, some of which was uncertified, and was not available to attend meetings on the concerns of other members of staff. The hearing was adjourned after Ms Bird’s evidence, to resume on July 3rd and 4th.