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Last Updated: Monday, 25 June 2007, 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
Woman wins ginger jibes tribunal
Sarah Primmer
Ms Primmer says she will continue to colour her hair
A waitress sexually taunted at work over her red hair has been awarded 17,618 compensation by an employment tribunal.

Sarah Primmer, 41, of Renown Street, Plymouth, suffered a series of lewd and embarrassing comments until she was sacked from the city's Rendezvous Cafe.

She claimed unfair dismissal and sexual harassment at the establishment.

The award was made against Mayflower Kebabs Ltd, Kemal Koyunco, Malik Aldogan and Laxtone Ltd.

The Exeter tribunal chairman, Christa Christensen, said the "regular sexual harassment and innuendo" suffered by Ms Primmer had affected her self-esteem.

It is not nice to be ginger
Sarah Primmer

During a six-month period last year Ms Primmer had been subjected to a series of inappropriate comments by the cafe's night manager.

The tribunal was told he had apparently translated his comments into Turkish for the benefit of other members of staff.

"They wanted to know if the colour of my hair matched the rest of my body," said Ms Primmer.

"They thought it was quite funny to laugh about - they do not see many people with red hair."

Sick note

The tribunal chairman described the harassment suffered by Ms Primmer as "denigrating, highly personal and demeaning".

Ms Primmer was dismissed from the cafe while off work. A doctor's sick note was not accepted by her employer.

Ms Primmer, who said she was "staggered" by the size of her award, intends to continue having her hair coloured.

She was so upset when she was sacked she spent 90 every three months to keep her hair straight and blonde.

"I am going to try and get it lighter and lighter, it is not nice to be ginger," she said after the hearing.

"I was teased about my red hair at school and called coppernob and Duracell, but no-one had mentioned the colour of my hair to me for years."

The respondents were not represented at the tribunal in Exeter.

Sarah Primmer said the tribunal was "scary at times"

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