‘I was humiliated in the workplace’ claims clown
Barnum and Bailey Circus is facing a massive compensation payout after one its employees claimed he was subjected to premeditated ridicule at his place of work over a period of twenty five years.
Eric Whimhurst, who was forced by his employers to adopt the name ‘Cocoa’ while at work, told the employment tribunal ‘it was a nightmare, I went to work and they would laugh at me no matter what I did. Nobody should have to put up with what I’ve been through.’
The tribunal heard that Mr Whimhurst’s contract specified that he had to wear work clothes supplied by the employers. ‘But the uniform was way too big, especially the trousers. They were so large around the waist I had to use the bright yellow braces they gave me to keep them up. The shoes were much too long. I take a size 9 but they gave me a size 40 and everyone kept stepping on them in the lunch queue.’
At his original interview Mr Whimhurst had also been promised a company car, but claims that the vehicle was completely unroadworthy. ‘The door kept falling off and loud bangs kept coming from the exhaust. Then the steering wheel came off in my hands and flames started to come from the engine and I feared for my life.’ The tribunal heard how other Barnum and Bailey employees rushed to the scene of the crisis and handed him a fire bucket. But when he threw it over the flames, he discovered that instead of containing water it was full of thousands of tiny pieces of paper that only made things worse. ‘This was one of a number of breaches of basic Health and Safety Policies that occurred at the workplace.’
Mr Whimhurst finally broke down in the courtroom as he described the flower his workmates placed in his lapel. ‘For a second I thought the flower represented a rare act of kindness, that they were going to stop being horrible to me. They told me to smell it and trusting them I did so. Cold water squirted all over my face and the others laughed and pointed at me and then, kicked me up the backside. It was horrible,’ stammered Mr Whimhurst through the tears.
The judge listened to all the evidence in stony silence and commented that he struggled to see how anyone could find any of this at all amusing. ‘Oh, only the clowns were laughing at any of it…’ explained Mr Whimhurst. ‘No members of the public were laughing in the slightest…’ he added, causing the other clowns to begin weeping openly in court.Click to send this story to a friend
Posted: Oct 12th, 2007 by The Hit Squad
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