Woman loses racial discrimination case over ‘Kiwi’ nickname

Published: December 03, 2018 13:00:02 | Updated: December 05, 2018 15:43:38

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A New Zealand woman has unsuccessfully argued that she was a victim of racial discrimination after being labelled a ‘Kiwi’ by her colleagues in Australia.

Julie Savage said she was disrespected when her boss and co-workers referred to her as ‘Kiwi’ instead of her name.

However an Australian tribunal ruled that she had not suffered unfair treatment or discrimination at work.

A judge noted that the term was commonly used by New Zealanders themselves.

“Calling a New Zealander a ‘Kiwi’ is not of itself offensive. ‘Kiwi’ is not an insult,” said Judge Leonie Farrell.

She added that the word was often viewed as a “term of endearment”.

It is derived from the name of a flightless bird native to the country, says a BBC report.

Savage said the issue had prompted her to resign from her job as a supervisor at Vili’s Cakes, a bakery in Adelaide, in 2016.

She later lodged a complaint with the South Australian Employment Tribunal.

But it found no evidence that discrimination laws had been violated.

“[She] did not allege that she suffered unfavourable treatment in respect of the terms of her employment, lack of progression or segregation,” Ms Farrell said.

“At its core [her complaint] is not about racism.”

The bakery’s owner, Vili Milisits, told local media that the “right outcome” had been reached.

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