Scouser accused boss of racism after she told him ‘Calm down, calm down’ at work

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A bus driver from Liverpool claimed he was racially abused by his boss when she told him to "calm down, calm down" like Harry Enfield’s famous Scousers.

Antony Ryan, who was born and grew up in the Merseyside city, said he felt "insulted" by Margaret Robertson’s taunting.

In sketches in comic Enfield's TV show permed, moustachioed, shell-suited Scousers would nearly come to blows before one eased the tension by telling the other "alright, alright, calm down, calm down".

But Antony did not see the funny side when manager Margaret directed the catchphrase at him.

He was so offended he missed two days work and was later sacked for unauthorised absence.

The driver took Shetland coach hire firm R Robertson & Son Ltd to a Scottish employment tribunal claiming he was a victim of race discrimination.

Though the panel ruled the comment "unprofessional" and "uncalled for" his claim was dismissed because he was not being mocked over his English national origin.

The tribunal heard Mrs Robertson mocked Antony’s accent during a grievance meeting. She told him and a colleague: "You boys need to go and calm down, calm down."

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Antony was so angry at the comment he went home and sent a text saying: "I feel so insulted and disgusted at present and am in no frame of mind to work at present."

After he failed to show the next day too he was fired for "inappropriate conduct" and "unauthorised absence".

He lodged a race discrimination claim stating he would not have taken the time off if he had not been "insulted, ridiculed and offended".

But the panel – headed by employment judge James Young – ruled it was not a medical reason to miss work and Antony was not discriminated against as the comment related to a region instead of a country.

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They said: "The catchphrase seemed to relate to the use of the words 'calm down, calm down' in a Liverpool accent. Mr Ryan is from Liverpool and it is because he hails from that city that he took offence.

"I agree that the alleged comment could mock Mr Ryan as a Liverpudlian but not as an English person.

"The comment may well have been unprofessional or uncalled for but it is not in my view discriminatory because there was no mocking of the claimant on account of his national origin – namely being English."

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