Woman denies racist remarks at Sunderland Dixy Chicken shop
A Sunderland takeaway worker hurled racist abuse in a dispute over her tax affairs.
Vivienne Jefferson knocked over computer tills and smashed a fire alarm panel at Dixy Chicken in Pallion, Sunderland, where she previously worked, a court was told.
Jefferson denied using racist language, claiming her use of the term ‘black’ related to the shop itself being dirty.
Former colleague Lauren Smurthwaite told Sunderland Magistrates’ Court she was working in the shop at about 11.30am when Jefferson entered.
“She demanded to see the owners,” said Ms Smurthwaite.
“I told her the owners were in Egypt.”
The court heard Jefferson made insulting remarks about the owners’ religion and skin colour.
Jefferson admitted swearing, and damaging the fire alarm panel.
“I shouldn’t have done that,” she said. “I admit I was annoyed, and I admit I used bad language, but I didn’t use racist language.
“When I said ‘black’, I was referring to the shop being dirty.”
The court was told Jefferson worked at Dixy Chicken for about six years, leaving following a dispute over shift patterns.
Jefferson claimed Dixy Chicken had not properly recorded her employment, which resulted in her getting a demand for repayment of £8,100 tax credits.
Jefferson, 44, of Moreland Street, Roker, Sunderland, denied racially aggravated criminal damage on July 8.
However, she was convicted by the magistrates after a trial.
Anna Haq, defending, said: “Ms Jefferson was aggrieved, the company had her recorded as a male, a date of birth at least 10 years out, and had her address down as that of the shop.”
The magistrates adjourned passing sentence in the case to allow for the preparation of a probation report.
Jefferson was bailed to appear before South Shields Magistrates’ Court for the matter to be dealt with on April 5.