Two Sikh tow truck drivers in New Zealand have filed a complaint against their former boss in the Human Rights Commission for her inaction against racial abuse by a manager who called all Sikhs "terrorists."
Raminder Singh and Sumit Nandpuri, ex-employees of Southern Districts Towing, had resigned after their complaints regarding alleged racial abuse by a manager last year were not treated appropriately by the company's owner Pam Watson, according to a report by news website stuff.co.nz.
Singh and Nandpuri claimed that a new manager had told Singh that "all Sikhs are terrorists" and, on a different occasion, interrupted Nandpuri's discussion with a colleague and used derogatory language against the Sikh community. Both men complained to Watson, but finally quit after they felt their grievances were not treated seriously. After they quit, they received no apology from the employer but were instead questioned if they had celebrated the death of British Queen Elizabeth II.
The duo filed a complaint at the Human Rights Commission (HRC), which will hold a mediation hearing this month. The complaint can be referred to the Human Rights Review Tribunal if the HRC fails to conclude, the report said on Thursday.
Singh, who worked for the company for two and a half years, said that both men were New Zealand citizens with clean records but had been made to feel like criminals. Nandpuri, who worked for the company for over five years, said that it was the fifth incident of racism he had experienced there.
Supreme Sikh Society's Daljit Singh, representing the pair at the Commission, said that the case was a "very disturbing" one. "It was a shock to us that anyone would say, in New Zealand, that Sikhs are terrorists," Singh was quoted as saying in the report. "It is completely unbelievable, and they are very offended," he added.