A piece in today’s Times:
A scientist claims that his female boss told him to “man up” and that the “toxic” working atmosphere at his laboratory involved “extreme discrimination” against men.
Daniel Price has started legal proceedings, claiming that he suffered routine bullying at a female-dominated company. The scientist told an employment tribunal that women managers at PiQ Laboratories in south Wales, a food testing site, told him that “men are less organised” and repeatedly ordered him to go away because they were having “girls only” conversations.
Price, who is in his mid-20s, said in evidence at a preliminary hearing that he was the only staff member told to carry boxes and that it was his role “because you’re a man”. When he once refused because of a hernia he was told to “man up and get on with it, it’s only a few boxes”.
The laboratory in Ebbw Vale near Newport specialises in allergen testing and food authenticity. Price worked for the company from January 2019 until he was dismissed in May 2020.
The hearing in Cardiff heard that Price alleges that two female bosses at the company discriminated against him: Ashleigh Knowles, a lab manager, and Debbie Powell. It was alleged that Knowles referred to a potential new recruit, saying that “it will more than likely be a girl because women tend to be better and more organised in the lab”. It is also alleged that Knowles said to Price: “You are lucky to have your job because everyone was shocked that it was a guy being employed — we normally only employ females because men are less organised.”
It has also been alleged that Price received a WhatsApp message from Knowles that referred to a visit from a male colleague from another branch, which said: “Use an extra set of hands when you can . . . He could always move boxes too.”
Price said that after he cited the hernia condition as the reason for refusing to lift boxes, the working environment turned tense as Knowles “told other staff members that he had refused to complete the task”.
Tribunal documents show evidence from Price that when he once approached Knowles while she was speaking to an unnamed female colleague, his boss said: “Go away, we are talking about woman stuff.”
The scientist has told the tribunal that he responded by saying: “It’s OK, I have three sisters and I’m used to it,” and [Knowles] further said: “No, you’re a man and you don’t need to be listening to this.”
Price told the tribunal that he was told on several occasions to leave when his women colleagues were discussing “girls only” topics.
He added: “[There was] extreme discrimination against males within the workplace.”
Judge Rachel Harfield ruled that Price had a “sufficiently arguable case” and said a full hearing would take place to hear the sexism claims.
PiQ Laboratories has been contacted for comment.
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