A Māori Niuean man has taken his Queensland employer and two colleagues to court after he was given a canister labelled "Black Guy Repellent" by his co-workers instead of sunscreen, the man claims.
Rainbow Beach tour company worker McDuff Tupetagi says he has been racially vilified on numerous occasions, with the multiple alleged incidents forcing him to take sick leave for mental distress.
On November 8, 2017, Tupetagi was told by his coworkers that there was "a present" for him in the car he was next to work on, but upon opening the door he found an empty canister of sunscreen labelled "Black Guy Repellent" and "Caution! Only use on blacks".
Tupetagi told the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission that he was frequently the butt of jokes at the company, often referred to as "the black fella".
He said he now suffers from anxiety and the racial abuse makes him feel "like an unwanted creature of pest", the Brisbane Times reported.
The newspaper said it had seen Tupetagi's Workers Compensation medical certificates, all of which cite discrimination as causing his distress.
In 2016 Tupetagi asked his boss to install a sunshade at the workplace to protect him from the sun.
His bosses ignored his request for three months but when Tupetagi then asked a second time for sunshade, his manager, "Byron", refused the request and told Tupetagi that his request was denied "because you're black", the statement of fact reads.
Following the repeated abuse, Tupetagi claims he needed "extensive" psychiatric support and has been diagnosed with severe depression.
Tupetagi claims he's been diagnosed with agoraphobia or fear of leaving safe places.
The case has reached the commission with Tupetagi alleging the treatment from his former employer exposed him to severe ridicule.
"By being presented with a sunscreen bottle, a product designed to save lives which the complainant had been denied access to previously, marked as a product designed to chase 'blacks' away, or even kill them, the complainant felt likened to an unwanted creature or pest," the statement of facts reads.
Tupetagi's lawyer told the court it was one of the most "shocking" cases of workplace racism and vilification he'd seen.
"Trying to make a black colleague extinct or otherwise treated like an insect is repugnant."
The case will go to court in a few weeks.