The Labor Court determined that the health plan cooperative Unimed pay compensation for moral damages of R$ 39 thousand to a former employee, victim of racist offenses within the company, located in the Employees neighborhood, in the Center-South region of Belo Horizonte.
The attacks took place in 2017 and 2018. The decision was given by Judge Rodrigo Candido de Carvalho, from the 34th Labor Court, on August 11th.
The decision cannot be appealed, since there was an agreement between the parties.
According to the former employee, Bruno Souza Oliveira, 40, some colleagues and the managers themselves called him “Vera Verão”, a gay and black character from a comedy program on SBT.
“They called me Vera Verão every day, I was humiliated, they even made a photo of me in a corporate group at the company. They made fun of my hair that I always shaved. Even in large meetings, with people I didn’t even know, from outside the company, the jokes continued. They said it was a joke, but as a joke, there was nothing,” said Bruno.
Former Unimed-BH employee will receive R$ 40,000 in compensation for racist offense
Currently working as an insurance broker, Bruno said that, even though he was very upset, he was “reluctant” to make a decision. The “drop of water” was when one of his colleagues who made fun of him became boss and fired him.
“When one of the people who made fun of me became the boss and fired me, I felt I needed to do something. On the day of the dismissal I was very clear and explained that I was hurt by what was happening, but no one supported me. I was going to get burned in the market if I did something. I left there and filed a police report against people and shortly thereafter I filed a lawsuit,” he said.
In the decision, the judge spoke about the structural racism present in the country.
“Nothing matters what each witness thinks or not about the game; nothing matters what their skin color, or that, in the hearing, Bruno was the only black-skinned participant (…); nothing would matter, either, if they were black the ‘animators’ themselves of the meeting in which Bruno was referred to as the index of ‘Vera Verão’ and ‘Sebastian’: ‘recreational racism’ is an objective bad practice, as it is one of the mainstays of the structural racism in force in our country”, said the judge in sentencing.
When the ruling came out and the judge treated the case as racism, the insurance broker said he felt “relieved”.
“In a way justice was done and it was good for them to realize that they weren’t doing it right, that these ‘jokes’ cannot happen, that they hurt the other, people need respect, regardless of skin color and sexual orientation,” said Bruno.
In a statement, Unimed said that “it repudiates any attitude or action that demonstrates racial or gender prejudice within its establishments.”
He said that “it has a Code of Conduct and a Whistleblower Channel that is widely disseminated among its employees” and reinforced that it complies with all court decisions.
“Decision regarding an isolated fact that occurred in 2018, demonstrates the actions implemented by Unimed-BH, which proves that all the measures applicable to the case were taken, including the dismissal of professionals“, said in note.
Regarding the occurrence registered in 2018 by Bruno against other company employees, the Civil Police said that it opened an investigation to investigate the case. The investigation is ongoing.