The umbrella group for brands including Purdey, Dunhill and Cartier was found guilty of racial discrimination at an employment tribunal in London this week. It is reported that the company hired private detectives to spy on one of its employees after she complained of racial discrimination.
The tribunal found that Richemont UK’s human resources team at first tried to dissuade and then attempted to silence the complaint made by 56-year-old accountant Cheryl Spragg.
One of the most extreme reported examples of racial discrimination against Spragg was when she was “snubbed” by a group of colleagues who refused to travel with her in an office lift.
The tribunal ruling cited evidence from a Malaysian Chinese employee at the company’s London office who stated that the working environment was rife with “casual racism” that staff were expected to “just to put up with”.
Spragg‚ who has worked at Richemont UK for over a decade and is now on sick leave‚ told The Times that she had to undergo psychological counselling following incidents at the workplace.
She also said that the company’s move to instruct a team of private detectives to spy on her and her family was deeply traumatising.
“My family and I discovered that we were being stalked and had to go to the police to report all the incidents‚” said Spragg‚ who is married with two children.
When questioned a representative of Richemont UK said it worked hard to be a “genuinely multicultural‚ racially and ethnically diverse employer‚ with our teams spanning cultures and nationalities across the globe”.
“These are the values that sit at the core of our business. We are therefore very concerned with the findings of the tribunal and will review our processes and procedures accordingly.”