John Lansdown, 39, is the only seafarer taking tribunal action after nearly 800 P&O workers were dismissed without notice last month. He is alleging race bias saying P&O replaced staff with non-British crew paid much less than the minimum wage. He has filed against P&O and chief executive Peter Hebblethwaite and seeks financial compensation and exemplary damages of up to £76million.
In a statement, P&O Ferries said its job cuts were “categorically not based on race or the nationality of the staff involved”.
The company was widely criticised for making the seafarers redundant over Zoom on March 17.
Mr Lansdown said his action was about the “bigger picture”. He added: “P&O could give a green light to other companies to do the same this is not just about me.
Seven hundred and ninety nine of my seafaring family have lost their livelihoods, their way of life, their homes for half the year.”
His action comes after criminal and civil investigations were launched on April 1 into the sackings.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said the Insolvency Service had started “formal criminal and civil investigations”.
Mr Hebblethwaite last month admitted before a parliamentary committee that P&O broke the law by not consulting with unions before the mass sackings.
The Government plans to ensure ferry firms operating in UK waters pay the minimum wage.
But the TUC yesterday warned that the plans will be unworkable in practice unless enforcement powers are “significantly beefed up”.
P&O said “all but one” employees had accepted a settlement and had forfeited their right to legal action.