A former P&O Ferries chef is reportedly suing the company for unfair dismissal, racial discrimination and harassment.
John Lansdown has filed a tribunal claim against the company and its chief executive, and is seeking financial compensation and exemplary damages of up to £76m, according to the BBC.
P&O Ferries said its job cuts were “categorically not based on race or the nationality of the staff involved”, in a statement carried by the broadcaster.
Lansdown said the action was about the “bigger picture”, telling the BBC: “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.”
It comes after criminal and civil investigations were launched on 1 April into the decision by P&O Ferries to sack almost 800 workers.
The company was widely criticised for making the seafarers redundant without notice on 17 March.
The business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said the Insolvency Service had started “formal criminal and civil investigations”.
The service said: “Following its inquiries, the Insolvency Service has commenced formal criminal and civil investigations into the circumstances surrounding the recent redundancies made by P&O Ferries.
“As these are ongoing investigations, no further comment or information can be provided at this time.”
The P&O Ferries chief executive, Peter Hebblethwaite, told a joint hearing of the Commons’ business and transport committees that his company broke the law by not consulting with trade unions before sacking workers.