New Zealand-born bakery staffer sues her boss for racial discrimination after being nicknamed ‘kiwi’ by her co-workers – but he says it’s a term of endearment
- A New Zealander has taken her former boss to court for racial discrimination
- Julie Savage claims she was ‘disrespected’ when her co-workers called her ‘kiwi’
- Vili’s bakery owner Vili Milistits argued the nickname was a term of endearment
A New Zealand woman has accused her former boss of racial discrimination after he called her ‘kiwi’.
Julie Savage, a former supervisor at the Vili’s Cakes kitchen in Adelaide, said she was ‘disrespected’ when her co-workers repeatedly called her a ‘kiwi’ instead of using her name.
But her complaint, which was heard before the South Australian Employment Tribunal, was dismissed as a ‘perceived lack of respect’.
Vili Milisits (pictured) was accused of discriminating against a New Zealand employee
Ms Savage was first called ‘kiwi’ back in 2016 by her co-workers and bakery owner Vili Milisits, 70.
She quit her job soon after and took the complaint to the Commissioner for Equal Opportunity, Adelaide Now reports.
Before a tribunal, Ms Savage said she wasn’t claiming to be treated unfairly due to her heritage, but rather that the nickname was ‘disrespectful’.
But the case was still treated as a racial discrimination case, with the investigation taking 18 months.
The New Zealand native claims she was disrespected when she was called a ‘kiwi’ while working at Mr Malistis’ cafe (pictured)
On Sunday, the claim was dismissed by Tribunal Judge Leonie Farrell, who said: ‘Calling a New Zealander a Kiwi is not of itself offensive. Kiwi is not an insult.’
The bakery’s owner admitted he had called Ms Savage the moniker, but argued that it was a fond nickname and never intended to be demeaning.
Judge Farrell ultimately agreed, throwing out any accusations of discrimination.
‘It was pretty satisfying when I saw what the commissioner said – I’m happy with that,’ Mr Milistits said.
He thanked the tribunal for finding in his favour, but said the 18-month-long trial was ‘slow’.