Brent Council found guilty of victimisation and racism against black worker

Brent Council has been found guilty of racial discrimination

Brent Council has been found guilty of racial discrimination - Credit: Archant

Brent Council has been found guilty of racial discrimination and victimisation against a black worker by an employment tribunal.

Rosemary Clarke, who was the head of learning and development at the council, claimed she was forced to leave her job because of the actions of Cara Davani, the director of human resources who was also her line manager.

Watford Employment Tribunal heard Ms Davani, who is also an award-winning dog breeder, had pushed for Ms Clarke to be suspended following a series of disagreements between the two of them in 2012.

Ms Clarke, who had made a series of complaints against Ms Davani, was suspended from her job in February 2013 following an allegation of gross misconduct.

She was signed off sick due to work-related stress and anxiety in April and she resigned from her job of six years three months later.

In a letter sent to the council, Ms Clarke said: “There are numerous reasons for my resignation which in summary include conduct against me, such as harassment, bullying, discriminatory treatment, victimisation and breaches of the express and implied terms of my contract of employment.”

The council accepted her letter of resignation but decided to continue with a disciplinary investigation three days after her last official day as a council employee.

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Ms Clarke’s brother, Henri Clarke, who was representing her amid her medical plight, appealed to have the disciplinary halted but this was rejected by the council which claimed it “has a duty to future employers to give a full and accurate account of these actions of its formers employee.”

However the tribunal heard a disciplinary hearing by the council into a white male worker who had been suspension for gross misconduct had been stopped when he resigned.

The unnamed employee’s legal team successfully lobbied for no further action to be taken in case it impaired his ability to work in his trained field in future.

As a result, the tribunal found that Ms Clarke had been treated less favourably because of her race after the council failed to prove that it was not a consideration.

It also ruled that the council acted in a manner that destroyed relationship of trust and confidence with Ms Clarke, who was forced into resignation because the ordeal.

A spokesman for Brent Council declined to comment on whether disciplinary action will be taken against Ms Davani.

He said: “The council has robust, up-to-date policies around equalities, whistleblowing, bullying and harassment and we take these issues extremely seriously.

“We are committed to equal and fair treatment for all our staff who are from a hugely diverse range of backgrounds and represent the diversity of our unique borough.

“We are disappointed and surprised by the findings in this case and are currently seeking legal advice. Therefore we are not able to comment on the case any further at this stage.”

The amount of compensation Ms Clarke will be entitled to will be decided at a separate remedy hearing.