Rainbow Beach 'black guy repellent' case settled
A RACISM case brought against a Rainbow Beach tour company after a Maori Niuean employee was given a sunscreen canister labelled "Black Guy Repellent” [sic] by his colleagues has been settled.
The Brisbane Times reports today that McDuff Tupetagi was employed as a car detailer at the tour company when he alleged he was the subject of repeated racism, finally taking the company to court in late 2018.
"While it has been difficult, I am glad the matter has settled and I can put it behind me,” Mr Tupetagi said on brisbanetimes.com.
The amount of settlement was not disclosed.
Mr Tupetagi took his employers Rainbow Beach Adventure Company - owned by Website Travel Group - to court alleging racial vilification from his coworkers.
In court documents, Mr Tupetagi alleged that in November 2017 he was told by his coworkers that there was â "present” for him in the car he was next to work on.
In the footwell of the car's passenger front seat, he found an empty canister of sunscreen wrapped in fluorescent yellow tape, labelled "Black Guy Repllent” [sic] and "Caution! Only use on blacks”.
The Brisbane Times reports Rainbow Beach Adventure Company and two of its employees, Mervin O'Neill and Joel Mahon, were named in court documents filed by Mr Tupetagi.
It said Mr Tupetagi sued all three for racial vilification in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, represented by Supportah Operations.
"Employed as a mechanic at the company since 2014, Mr Tupetagi alleged he was frequently called "the black fella” and made the butt of jokes, as well as being told he did not need a sunshade because of his skin tone,” the report states.
"After the sunscreen incident, Mr Tupetagi took medical leave due to the stress of the alleged racial vilification, and suffered depression and agoraphobia,” court documents said.
"The company claimed the sunscreen incident was a practical joke between friends in the workplace, and that the employees involved had apologised to Mr Tupetagi when they realised he was distressed.”
"Website Travel Group, who was represented by DLA Piper in the case, was contacted for comment,” the report says.