Brent Council director slammed for treatment of black worker to lead new equalities strategy
PUBLISHED: 11:02 27 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:54 02 March 2015
A Brent Council director whose unfair treatment of a black worker resulted in the local authority being found guilty of racial discrimination will manage its new equalities strategy.
Cara Davani, the council’s HR director, will oversee the implementation of new measures to improve the council’s HR and equalities policies despite her being slammed by an employment tribunal for her treatment of Rosemarie Clarke.
Her team will roll out the “new Equality Strategy 2015 – 2019’ which promises a “refreshed vision and approach underpinned by the values of fairness, respect for people, valuing diversity and excellence in all our services.”
Last year, Watford Employment Tribunal heard Ms Clarke was forced to resign as the council’s head of learning and development because of the ordeal she suffered at Ms Davani’s hands.
It ruled Ms Clarke has been victimised and racially discriminated against by the council because of Ms Davani’s actions.
Sujata Aurora, from Brent Anti Racism Campaign, said: “It is truly astonishing that Brent’s has seen fit to put its new equalities strategy in the hands of the very person whose actions provoked the review.
“This is a slap in the face to staff who gave evidence to the Pavey inquiry in good faith and, regardless of the content of the new strategy, it is hard to have any confidence in its implementation.”
The new strategy is the result of a review into the council’s HR and equalities policies carried out by Cllr Michael Pavey, the deputy leader of the council, following the tribunal’s decision.
The report found that Black and minority ethnic (BAME) employees were less likely to be promoted even though they participated in more training than their white counterparts.
It made a list of recommendations that should be implemented including the development of talent within the council to ensure progression opportunities are available among BAME staff and compulsory ‘unconscious bias’ training for all managers and recruiters.
Despite numerous requests to the council they have failed to tell the Times if Ms Davani has faced any disciplinary action for her treatment of Ms Clarke.
Instead a spokeswoman said: “The findings of any tribunal judgement in which the council is involved require careful reflection. That has certainly happened in the Clarke case where lessons have been learnt at an individual and organisational level.
“An adverse tribunal decision should not automatically lead to disciplinary proceedings.”
Commenting on Ms Davani leading the equalities strategy, she said: “Following a national advert, our HR director was appointed in early 2013 by a cross party elected member panel and equalities has always been in her remit.
“Under her leadership we have radically improved our approach to equalities as shown by our progress towards excellence in the equality framework for local government and to the achievement of the gold level for investors in people.”
Ms Clarke is expected to claim thousands of pounds in compensation from the council.