Scots La Vita restaurant employee wins £ 11,000 comp after ‘racist attack’ and challenged to fight by chef


A restaurant worker won £ 11,000 after a court found he had been racially abused and taken by the throat by a chef.

Kitchen doorman Vasilis Kodra took La Vita – a family business that owns five Italian restaurants in and around Glasgow – to an employment tribunal, claiming he was attacked and said “The Albanians have problems with their lives. ** king “during a rammy with his ex-colleague Robbie Syme at the Byres Road branch.

The Gordon Street branch which employed Mr Kodra has now been ordered to pay him over £ 5,000 for racial harassment, over £ 5,000 in compensation for wrongful and wrongful dismissal and unpaid wages while he was sick with Covid-19.

The row erupted at La Vita Spuntini on Byres Road, Glasgow

Mr Kodra told the court he left a scratch on his neck after the row with former chef Syme on October 6 last year, but was blamed by La Vita director Marco Arcari .

He claimed the dispute started a month earlier when he heard the chef say, “Marco fills his fucking kitchen with fucking Africans, Albanians and Romanians.”

The doorman said he was told to “shut up and get on with your job” when he challenged Syme.

Mr Kodra tested positive for coronavirus shortly thereafter and was off work for 10 days.

Upon his return, he expressed concern that items had not been taken out of the freezer for his food preparation that day.

He claims that Syme again told him to “shut up and carry on” before daring him to come out and fight.

In its findings on the facts of the case, the court said: “Mr. Syme was the aggressor in the incident. The incident took place in an area that was covered by a CCTV camera.

“The applicant returned to the kitchen and another argument developed in which Mr. Syme shouted at the applicant” f ** king Albanians “and” the Albanians have f ** king problems “.

“Mr. Syme then threw himself on the applicant and grabbed him by the throat.

The incident happened at La Vita Spuntini on Byres Road, Glasgow, in October last year

“Mr. Arcari senior then arrived in the restaurant. He was angry with the requester whom he blamed for the incident before speaking to anyone to find out what really happened.

“Mr. Arcari Sr. was aggressive towards the claimant and asked him to remove his branded top and return it to him.

“Mr. Arcari told the claimant that he had been fired and had to leave immediately. “

The court heard that the chef was also fired later, but not immediately due to a lack of coverage.

Mr Kodra reported the incident to police, but when officers attended, the CCTV footage was no longer in the system and witnesses were missing.

No one has been charged for this incident.

The court said it preferred Mr. Kodra’s testimony and dismissed claims that he was aggressive at work.

He said: “It appeared in court that the respondents’ witnesses were willing to embellish their evidence and invent evidence when they thought it might help them defend the claimant’s claims.

“The court concluded that the plaintiff’s assault allegations and the threats he made were entirely fabricated by the defendant for the purpose of portraying the plaintiff as the aggressor in the events of October 6. “

The restaurant was ordered to pay £ 10,926.55 for loss of earnings, damage to feelings, loss of wages and interest.

La Vita Co-Director Mario Acari said: “For over two decades we have been very proud to employ team members from many different cultures. That is why we categorically condemned the unacceptable behavior of this terrible episode and quickly fired the person responsible. “

Mr Kodra, who has since found a new job, declined to comment further when contacted by the Record.

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