Rosemary Clarke, the former head of learning and development at Brent Council, made her Employment Tribunal claims for constructive dismissal, direct race discrimination and victimisation after she was dismissed by the Council last year for gross misconduct.
Ms Clarke’s Employment Tribunal claim came to a full hearing at the Watford Employment Tribunal earlier this year. Ms Clarke, giving evidence at the Employment Tribunal, claimed that she had been told by the council that she would be dismissed for gross misconduct and that her disciplinary process would not be stopped even if she resigned from her job. However, Ms Clarke claimed that a white colleague of hers who had been accused of gross misconduct had the disciplinary allegations against him dropped after his legal team intervened and he resigned. Ms Clarke pointed to this differential treatment as discriminatory.
The Employment Tribunal ruled in Ms Clarke’s favour in her claims for race discrimination and victimisation, holding that the Council could not put forward a reasonable explanation as to why Ms Clarke’s colleague had been treated more favourably than her. The Tribunal also ruled that the Council had constructively dismissed Ms Clarke as its actions constituted a fundamental breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence that had previously existed between the parties.
Ms Clarke does not appear to have commented on the Employment Tribunal claim but a spokesman for Brent Council later stated: “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.”
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “Employers must take steps to treat all employees fairly and impartially, regardless of their race – a failure to do so can lead to an inference of discrimination in an Employment Tribunal claim, with the employer then having to refute that they acted in a discriminatory manner.”
It has been reported that a remedies hearing in Ms Clarke’s claim will be held in the future at the Watford Employment Tribunal.