Sky salesman wins £51,000 payout after he was sacked for suggesting that girls who wear short skirts are to blame if they get raped
- Raja Minhas said dressing ‘inappropriately’ is an ‘open invitation’ to some men
- Claimed that he said: ‘Girls who wear skirts like that and get raped, it’s their fault’
- He won a claim of unfair dismissal after judge ruled he had expressed remorse
A Sky salesman has won £51,082 after he was fired for suggesting to a female colleague that women who wear short skirts are to blame if they get raped.
Raja Minhas, 44, said that if women walk around dressed ‘inappropriately’ some men see it as an ‘open invitation’ to sexually assault them after observing a teenager’s dress in the Blackburn shopping mall where he worked.
The ‘successful’ sales adviser – who earned more than £100,000 as well as receiving a £2,296 Sky TV package – was fired for gross misconduct.
But he won a claim of unfair dismissal after a judge ruled he had expressed remorse and the comments were made in a private conversation, and not to the two girls.
A hearing in Liverpool was told that Mr Minhas had been working on a Sky stall for more than two years in a shopping centre in Blackburn, Lancashire, in 2019 when he made a comment to his female colleague.
Raja Minhas (pictured), 44, said that if women walk around dressed ‘inappropriately’ some men see it as an ‘open invitation’ to sexually assault them after observing a teenager’s dress in the Blackburn shopping mall where he worked
Mia Klemetti said that Mr Minhas remarked, after two teenagers aged around 15 or 16 walked past, that ‘girls in general who wear skirts like that and then get raped – it’s their own fault’.
The pair got into a heated discussion with Ms Klemetti telling him she believed a woman should be able to wear what she wanted and no-one should get raped because of their clothing choice.
The tribunal heard he said that he thought if girls dressed like that ‘sick people’ might take advantage.
He told investigators: ‘I was working with Ms Klemetti, I saw two girls walking past, both girls were dressed inappropriate. You could see the outline of their bodies.
‘I mentioned that if this were Pakistan people would be looking and it’s like an open invitation to be getting raped.
‘Then Mia said, ”that’s not true, it’s not the girls’ fault, they can dress how they want to dress, it’s the individual’s choice, good or bad”.
‘In my opinion if they wear that type of clothing some sick minded people around could take advantage of this inappropriate dress attire.’
Another colleague, Farhan Qudeer, overheard the conversation and later reported the comments to his manager.
He said he felt he had a duty to report what he had heard as it would give ‘Pakistanis a bad name’.
The tribunal heard that Ms Klemetti told the managers that Mr Minhas’s remarks would affect the way she dressed in future but in general he ‘wasn’t a bad man’ and would never hurt someone.
The ‘successful’ sales adviser – who earned more than £100,000 as well as receiving a £2,296 Sky TV package – was fired for gross misconduct
When Mr Minhas was questioned, he said that while he felt some customers dressed ‘inappropriately’ he knew he had no right to comment on what they were wearing.
He said that his comments were a ‘momentary lapse of judgment’ which would not be repeated and which he regretted.
He added that he wanted to apologise and the tribunal found he was ‘contrite, apologetic and showed remorse’.
Despite his apologies he was suspended and eventually dismissed for gross misconduct, partly on the incorrect assumption he made the comments directly to the women as they walked past.
However, a tribunal concluded that while Mr Minhas had ‘strong views’ as to how people should behave he should not have been dismissed as he ‘never condoned rape’.
In its judgement, the panel said: ‘[Mr Minhas] was guilty of some misconduct because Ms Klemetti did feel that she would not dress in a certain way in front of [him].
‘This was a heated argument between two people who had two different views of how people should dress in public.
‘The incident did not require [Mr Minhas] to be dismissed and such a sanction in all the circumstances of this case is outside the band of reasonable responses.
‘Mr Minhas never condoned rape. He had a view as to how a certain kind of dress might effect the way some men may behave.’
He added: ‘The comment made to Ms Klemetti was part of a general discussion about clothing.
‘Mr Minhas… had strong views as to what people should wear and do.
‘For example he felt that women should not breast feed in public. But he also made it abundantly clear that these were simply his views and he had no issue with other people having a different point of view.’
A subsequent remedy hearing in Manchester heard that after being sacked by Sky Mr Minhas got another job as a salesman for an agency in Hertfordshire.
At the hearing he asked to have his old job at Sky back. But his request was denied.
Judge Robinson concluded: ‘[The pandemic] and the resultant problem [it has] engendered would make it difficult, if not impossible, from a practical point of view to place the claimant back with Sky.
‘Mr Minhas may not be embarrassed by returning but some of his colleagues may well be and the industrial atmosphere therefore, if not actually poisoned, would not be helpful in a small setting where salesman and saleswomen have to get along in order to promote Sky’s products.
‘He was able, through his hard work and skill, to earn a considerable amount each week and he must be compensated properly for his consequent loss.’
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