A Māori Niuean man is reportedly suing an Australian tourism company and two of his former colleagues for discrimination, after he was given a canister with a racist message written on it.
McDuff Tupetagi claims his former colleagues at Rainbow Beach Adventure Company in Queensland gave him an empty canister of sunscreen wrapped in fluorescent yellow tape labelled ‘Black Guy Repllent’ [sic] and ‘Caution! Only use on blacks.’
Mr Tupetagi says he was given the canister in November 2016 after asking his boss, Mervin O’Neill, to install a sunshade at the workplace to protect him from the sun while he worked outside, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
The case has reached the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission following negotiations between Mr Tupetagi and his former employer, Rainbow Beach Adventure Company, which is owned by Website Travel Group.
The company – which operates on Fraser Island off Australia’s eastern Queensland coast – is being sued by Mr Tupetagi, who also claims he was often referred to as “the black fella” by his colleagues, a statement of facts says.
Mr Tupetagi has been diagnosed with severe depression and has a fear of leaving safe places, court documents show.
The man claims the discrimination he faced at work caused him to require “extensive” psychiatric support after being exposed to ridicule, Australian media reports. He says he was made to feel “like an unwanted creature or pest”.
“We value all our employees and are supporting the proceedings,” said Website Travel Group general manager Barry Downes.
The case will go before court in a few weeks.