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Spanish worker dubbed 'Manuel' sues for £30,000 over Fawlty

Race claim: Juan Ignacio says he was taunted by workmates, who called him 'Manuel'

A Spanish electrician who was allegedly nicknamed 'Manuel' by workmates after the Fawlty Towers waiter is suing his former employer for nearly £30,000.

Juan Ignacio, originally from Barcelona, says he was routinely taunted with the famous 'I know nothing' and 'Que?' catchphrases used by Andrew Sachs's sitcom character.

Mr Ignacio, 33, claims that bullying bosses mocked his accent and jibed 'He's from Barcelona', in front of others - the standard excuse made for Manuel by John Cleese's Basil Fawlty.

He alleges his managers at a private London hospital branded Spain a 'Third World country' and asked whether they had electricity.

Mr Ignacio, who has lived in Britain for five years, also claims that he endured constant homophobic abuse even though he is not gay.

He is suing private hospital group HCA International, which owns the London Bridge Hospital, and his alleged tormentors - the hospital's estates manager Chris Sweeney and chief engineer Richard Metcalfe - for race and sexual orientation discrimination, harassment and constructive dismissal, as well as injury to feelings.

In legal papers submitted to Croydon Employment Tribunal, Mr Ignacio said: 'When we used to watch Fawlty Towers in Spain in Catalan, we laughed at ourselves as we have a sense of humour.

'But with these people it went beyond a joke and became nasty. They made me feel bad, like an idiot. I found it offensive. You cannot judge people by the country they come from - especially when they are good at their job, as I was. I can take one or two jokes but when it is systematically repeated every day it hurts.'

Electrician Mr Ignacio began work at the hospital in the summer of 2006 as a £23,000-a-year building services engineer.

He claims the insults continued until his resignation in December 2007.

He said: 'Mr Metcalfe frequently mocked my accent. He quoted lines from the TV programme at me such as "I know nothing" and "He's from Barcelona". He would often call out to me "Que?"


A scene from the sitcom Fawlty Towers, starring John Cleese as hotel manager Basil Fawlty, left, and Andrew Sachs as Spanish waiter Manuel

'Until my resignation, Mr Sweeney and Mr Metcalfe made anti-homosexual remarks against me. I am not homosexual but found the remarks offensive.'

A second hospital worker, Pole Marcin Lukomski, 30, is also suing HCA and the two managers for £23,000 on the same grounds.

Handyman Mr Lukomski claims he had no choice but to quit his £21,000-a-year job in May after enduring a torrent of racist abuse, including the insults 'f***ing Polish', 'f***ing foreigners' and 'useless, stupid Pole'.

HCA and the two managers deny both men's allegations.

The case will be heard next month.

Source:dailymail.co.uk


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Added: Jan-22-2009 
By: ellhow
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Tags: faulty, towers
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