A SKY employee who was sacked after telling a colleague ‘girls who wear short skirts like that and then get raped, it’s their own fault’, has won a claim for unfair dismissal.

Raja Minhas, who had worked for Sky since 2017, was dismissed by the company for ‘gross misconduct’, following an incident in The Mall Blackburn on June 6 2019.

At an employment tribunal, it was heard that while working on the Sky TV stand, Mr Minhas made a the comment to his colleague, Mia Klemetti, after seeing two teenage girls walk past wearing short skirts.

Ms Klemetti challenged the comment, and the conversation became heated.

Another colleague, Farhan Qudeer, who was not in work that day but was passing by, joined them at the stand.

The tribunal was told that despite Mr Qudeer not hearing the argument it was he who made a complaint to his line manager.

When interviewed by a manager about the incident some three weeks later, Ms Klemetti said: “There were two young girls, about 15 or 16, and Mr Minhas said, ‘girls in general who wear skirts like that and then get raped, it’s their own fault’.”

She explained to the manager that she challenged Mr Minhas saying she ‘believed a woman should be able to wear what she wanted’.

The tribunal heard that despite being upset by his comments, Ms Klemetti had been content to continue working with Mr Minhas.

However, some eight weeks later, the matter was again taken higher, and when interviewed by Sky boss Mohammed Altaf, Mr Minhas gave his side of the story, explaining: “I was working with Ms Klemetti, I saw two girls walking past, both girls were dressed inappropriately.

“You could see the outline of their bodies. I mentioned that if this were Pakistan people would be looking and it’s like an open invitation to be getting raped.

“Then Ms Klemetti said, ‘that’s not true, it’s not the girls’ fault, they can dress how they want to dress, it’s the individual’s choice, good or bad’.

“In my opinion if they wear that type of clothing some sick-minded people around could take advantage.”

It was heard that Mr Minhas felt the conversation with Ms Klemetti was simply a conversation between two colleagues; he regretted upsetting a colleague and assured his manager it would not occur again, stating that, in essence, his comment was a ‘momentary lapse of judgment’ which would not be repeated.

Following the meeting, Mr Minhas was suspended and recommended for a disciplinary procedure.

However, a summary detailing the reasons for his suspension contained a number of errors, including one in which Mr Altaf stated the remarks had been made ‘to’ the passing girls.

In a conduct hearing in October 2019, some four months after the incident, Mr Minhas told the dismissing officer, Mr Armstrong, that he had never suggested that women deserved to be raped for wearing revealing clothing.

What he said was that ‘he knew that other men reacted when seeing women dressed in a certain way’, and acknowledged that he should keep his opinions to himself in the future.

However, Mr Minhas was subsequently dismissed, and questions were raised by Mr Qudeer about the ‘massive impact and brand damaging’ this could have had upon Sky if the conversation had been overheard.

The dismissal was appealed but was unsuccessful and Mr Mihas took his case to an employment tribunal.

Concluding the tribunal hearing, Employment Judge Robinson ruled the dismissal to be unfair and said: “The claimant made a foolish remark in the context of a discussion with Ms Klemetti about people’s dress generally.

“The claimant had strong views about the issue and he expressed them in forceful terms to his work colleague and she vociferously opposed them.

“The conversation was ten to fifteen minutes long and became heated.

“He came to regret it when he realised that the matter was being taken seriously by Mr Altaf, but only realised that at the very end of the investigatory hearing.”

The dismissal was deemed to be unfair and a remedy and compensation hearing will take place on April 23.