The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has been told to pay a former employee nearly £400,000 after she was subjected to racist and ageist abuse while at work.
Anne Giwa-Amu, 59, who is Welsh and Nigerian, worked as an administrative officer at the DWP offices in Caerphilly.
At the time of her appointment, Ms Giwa-Amu was the only non-white recruit and the only person aged over-50 in her cohort.
During a tribunal, the judge declared that Ms Giwa-Amu had suffered deliberate and intended harassment by colleagues.
While at the DWP, she was subjected to racist language and was humiliated when a DWP official was loudly laughing and telling her colleagues that he “touched her bum”.
Ms Giwa-Amu, who lives in Cardiff, was also repeatedly accused of stealing, while officials would often spray body-spray on themselves when near her.
The 59-year-old went on sick leave in March 2017 before she was unlawfully dismissed in October 2017, because she was unable to return to work.
She did not receive her final pay cheque and didn’t have money for food, having been living on just £55 a week.
DWP staff had deliberately created a “hostile environment” for Ms Giwa-Amu, said Judge Howden-Evans, who ordered the UK Government department to pay its former employee compensation of £386,000.
The sum includes £42,800 for injury to feelings.
Speaking to the BBC, Ms Giwa-Amu said the department was “promoting a culture of racism” and that her experience at the DWP was “harrowing”.
She said: “I’ve had to experience real financial hardship and the perpetrators were promoted despite how they had treated me.”
Solicitor Lawrence Davies of Equal Justice, accused DWP staff of setting out “to destroy the confidence and wellbeing of a black employee with their appalling conduct.”
He also said that none of the staff involved had been disciplined and that some had even been promoted since.
A DWP spokesperson said: “Racism is totally unacceptable and action will be taken against any staff found to be expressing such views. We take the judgment and the circumstances of this case very seriously.”
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