Call Centre worker's accent not English enough
From: CPD Webinars 03/12/07
A British man of Asian origin has won a racial discrimination case against his employer, Talk Talk Direct, because his accent “wasn’t English enough”.
Chetankumar Meshram, 27, a call centre trainer from Northampton, was selected for a two month secondment to Talk Talk Direct’s Delhi office to train staff but was sent back to England after just three weeks.
Mr Meshram was born in India but moved to Britain in 2005. He said: “I was called into a meeting with my boss, who told me I was to be replaced with a better English speaker. I know I speak with an accent but my job out there was to give technical advice, not to give expertise on how to communicate. It was an embarrassing and humiliating experience.”
Bedford Employment Tribunal found that he had suffered both direct and indirect discrimination and awarded him compensation for hurt feelings and expenses incurred during his trip to India.
The whole call-centre-rep's-difficult-to-understand accent is almost so cliched it's 'fresh' again. But I'll say this: the negative press that outsourcing call centres seem to generate for a business more than negates the financial incentive it offers. As more and more companies are slowly coming round to the realisation that their customers would rather speak to a call-centre rep in the UK -for whatever reason, I might add - perhaps it's time that ALL companies finally twig that dealing with customer's calls via outsourced call centres invariably creates more problems than it solves.