Holiday park investigates after worker quits over alleged racial remarks

Sunnydale Holiday Park in Saltfleet.
Sunnydale Holiday Park in Saltfleet.

A leading holiday park company says it has launched an investigation into claims by a former employee that he was forced to resign after suffering racial discrimination.

Damian Hamilton (46), of Theddlethorpe, started his job as a caravan sales advisor at the Saltfleet-based Sunnydale Holiday Park, owned by leisure giants Parkdean Resorts, at the start of July.

He claims he was enjoying his role until he was asked to help serve breakfasts at an event organised by the park for caravan/lodge owners.

Mr Hamilton alleges a couple who owned a caravan said they did not want him serving them, because of the colour of his skin.

He told the Leader: “A couple came up to me but said they didn’t want me serving them and waited for another staff member instead.

“I could have helped them in the same way my colleague did – but myself and the other staff member knew it was because of the colour of my skin.”

Mr Hamilton revealed he was shocked by the remark, and immediately reported it.

He was told by management that these ‘things can sometimes happen and just to forget about it’.

He added: “I was shaking to the point where I was feeling faint. I expected something was going to be done by management.

“They told me nothing could be done.”

Mr Hamilton stayed on, but claimed another incident led to him resigning.

On the second occasion, he says he was serving drinks to guests at the park. He said there was music playing in the background - which was ‘bashment reggae music’ - but thought nothing of it.

He noticed the woman who said she didn’t want him to serve her breakfast was sat at a table with other guests.

According to Mr Hamilton, he carried on working, before one of the other female guests at the table said to him: ‘Come on Damian, give us a dance’.

He believes the request was a remark referring to the colour of his skin, because of the type of music playing.

He added: “When I was working at this second event serving Pimms, I did tell my line manager the woman was there from the breakfast incident.

“The other woman asked me to give them a dance, and I replied; ‘I only do ballroom dancing I’m afraid’.

“With the bashment reggae music playing in the background, I knew they were making reference to the colour of my skin.

“I couldn’t believe in today’s society people would do that.”

Due to the incidents, Mr Hamilton felt he had no option but to resign on July 23.

Mr Hamilton claims the company didn’t hold an exit interview. He has since contacted Parkdean’s HR department.

The company has spoken to him to discuss his complaints, but he feels it is too late.

A spokesman for Sunnydale Holiday Park said: “The safety and wellbeing of our employees is very important to us. We do not tolerate discriminatory behaviour and take claims of discrimination very seriously and are investigating the incidents.”