Speed Reading — The Term "Kiwi" - Level 6 — 200 wpm

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A court in Australia has judged that the use of the word "Kiwi" to describe a person from New Zealand is not discriminatory. New Zealander Julie Savage filed a complaint against an Australian bakery where she was nicknamed "Kiwi" by her colleagues. She asserted that the term "Kiwi" was a form of racial discrimination and was insulting and disrespectful. However, the employment tribunal decided otherwise and dismissed her complaint. The bakery owner argued that the term "Kiwi" was one that most New Zealanders were proud of. He said the New Zealand government openly endorses the term and that it was used as "a term of endearment and as a means of identifying as a New Zealander".

The tribunal judge ruled that calling a New Zealander a Kiwi was not offensive. She said: "'Kiwi' is not an insult." In her findings, the judge observed that Ms Savage, "did not allege that she suffered unfavourable treatment in respect of the terms of her employment, lack of progression or segregation". Australia's Commissioner for Equal Opportunity acted on Ms Savage's behalf. She determined that: "If someone takes particular offence at that nickname and doesn't like it and says they don't like it and asked not to be called that anymore, then in a respectful workplace, that's what you'd do, you wouldn't call them that anymore." The bakery owner said he employs "every nationality known to man" and is not a racist.

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