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Axa PPP Healthcare to pay £142K over “SpongeBob SquarePants” bullying

AXA PPP Healthcare has been ordered to pay £142,000 in compensation to a worker who was nicknamed SpongeBob SquarePants by colleagues and mocked for her accent.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Brazilian Licia Faithful said she suffered post traumatic stress disorder after co-workers recorded her voice, and played it back to her, laughing and mimicking her accent.

Staff at the medical insurance company’s claims department in Royal Tunbridge Wells referred to her as SpongeBob SquarePants, a cartoon character.

At an employment tribunal in Ashford in Kent Judge Gill Sage ruled Faithful had suffered “the most serious case of discrimination” during 18-months of racist bullying.

She ordered the company to pay out more than £140,000 in aggravated damages including £25,000 for hurt feelings.

The hearing was told Faithful was asked whether she was on drugs because she was from Brazil, had miniature Brazilian flags stolen from her desk and that she did not receive rewards from bosses while her colleagues did.

The report quotes a statement from AXA PPP Healthcare which says the firm is “disappointed” with the outcome and had already considered “areas for improvement”.

The statement says: “Treating our employees fairly is very important to us and we work hard to create a positive, supportive workplace culture where employees enjoy their working environment.”


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I was in a road accident many years ago suffering extensive burns and scarring.

    I got £25K which even allowing for inflation is no where near what this lady received.

    She and her lawyers dont know that Post Traumatic Stress is.

  2. I agree with anon @1.04
    I have had a disability since birth and have had to endure rude staring and comments from my earliest childhood, even from adults who should know better.I realised early on that I could hide away from my tormentors or just get on with life.I chose the latter.
    It does hurt I agree, but you cannot compare it to someone who really has suffered ptsd, after serving in the armed forces or surviving a horrific accident.

  3. This bullying sounds serious and vicious. I feel many underestimate the impacts of being bullyed this badly. I have never been subjected to this sort level of vicious bullying but I know a few friends who had experienced significant bullying and I see the long lasting impacts. This is a psychological killing or assault.

  4. This sort of racism is intolerable in 21st century Britain and companies lie AXA should know better. the award is their money, not public money and they have enough of that but little sense of what is right or wrong. they allowed her colleagues to bully her into a nervous breakdown and falsified documents to protect them, they deserve nothing but contempt

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