Letter in Brent Times: Brent Council Guilty of Racism against Ex-employee

Racism ruling: Investigation by outsiders needed [Letter published in Brent Times series, 2 Oct 2014]

The seriousness of the judgment against Brent Council and Ms Davani, in favour of the claimant, can hardly be overstated. Judge Henry records that Ms Clarke was directly discriminated against because of her race. The maltreatment related not only to her dismissal but extended to her subsequent victimisation.

The judgment reads as a catalogue of misconduct within the Council and by key functionaries, including the findings that, the claimant, when in post, was “undermined” when they failed to consult her on matters central to her job; unreasonable requests were made regarding her right to access union advice; and her sick pay was discontinued despite all due medical documentation confirming her work-related stress symptoms.

One could be forgiven for concluding that the problem was institutionalised. In the words of the Judge, “No employer will admit to it [unlawful discrimination] and, indeed, discrimination is often operating at an unconscious level.” It is untenable, then, for Brent to appoint Michael Pavey, lead member for equalities, to investigate his own department, just as it would be for the police to investigate their own wrongdoing.

Does this not demonstrate of Brent management institutionalised denial of the highest order? How many staff are having to contend with this culture even now? We commend Ms Clarke for bringing this case but deplore Brent’s latest response, which only compounds their failure.

The money that Brent Council will be spending on their appeal would be much better spent on an independent investigation into the Corporate Management Team of the Council and the Human Resources Department as demanded by Brent Green Party, Brent TUC and many individuals. Such an investigation could begin the process of putting things right.

Shahrar Ali, Spokesperson for Brent Green party

See Wembley Matters for extensive citizen journalism on this story.
Brent Times (22 Sept): Brent Council found guilty of victimisation and racism against black worker

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