A United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean health assistant was fired by the NHS for gross misconduct in 2019 after he reportedly told a shocked female colleague “I want to have a chocolate baby with you”.
Farai Hombarume (53), from Thornaby, Teesside, was considered a sex pest by staff and was sacked from the job he had held for nine years but he claimed an NHS Trust was discriminating against him because he was black.
Hombarume allegedly told one female colleague he wanted to have a “chocolate baby” with her and invited her to go outside with him during their break.
The women complained Hombarume was harassing them and one had to go on sick leave for several months due to the stress he had caused her.
Following disciplinary hearings, he was fired for gross misconduct in 2019 from the job he had held for nine years.
Hombarume challenged the dismissal, accusing the Tees Esk and Wear Valley (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust of discriminating against him because he was black.
At an employment tribunal in Middlesbrough, he brought a case for racial discrimination, unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal from the Roseberry Park unit. Giving evidence at the tribunal, Homburame said:
I truly believe these accusations are based on my race, skin colour and mere hatred from the three staff members.
I’m a family man, I have a partner who is a teacher and daughters of my own at university.
I would never say the things I was accused of saying, they conspired against me and the reason I was treated the way I was coming down to my race and the colour of my skin.
There was an instance where I was racially abused by a patient, which is something that happens.
However, I expected my colleagues to be supportive but instead, they laughed about it.
The decision of the tribunal is very disappointing and I have written to them asking them to reconsider their findings.
I had worked for that trust for 10 years on so many different wards and never had a complaint against me.
It was only on that ward with those particular people that this happened.
Each of his claims was unanimously dismissed as “unfounded” by the tribunal panel after hearing from three female workers at Roseberry Park.
The panel concluded that his sacking had nothing to do with the colour of Hombarume skin. It said:
… In this case, the claimant made several highly inappropriate and sexual comments to female employees over two shifts.
We are satisfied that, in making those comments, the claimant committed gross misconduct and the respondent was entitled to terminate the claimant’s employment without notice.
Hombarume continued to insist his sacking was racially motivated, adding he continues to work for NHS Professionals, the largest bank of non-contract staff.