Racism case leads to call for inquiry

Court
Court

A solicitor is calling for an independent inquiry at her former workplace after a tribunal ruled she was unfairly dismissed.

Evelyn Jarrett, from Bedford, lost her job in 2012. At the tribunal Judge Martin Warren said she had been discriminated against, victimised and harassed by a local authority because of her black African origin.

But her manager, senior solicitor Philip Thomson, 58, is keeping his job at Essex County Council, despite the ruling.

The tribunal heard how in the workplace he made positive references to Hitler and gave Ms Jarrett the nick-name “Evil-Lyn”.

Judge Warren said: “A person of ethnic minority origins is bound to feel disadvantaged in a workplace managed by a person who considers it acceptable to make any positive reference, of any kind, to Hitler. The existence of such a culture is indicative of a working environment where diversity issues are not taken seriously.”

Speaking after the tribunal in London, Ms Jarrett, who is in her 50s, called for an independent investigation into the treatment she faced while working at the council.

She said: “This has taken a terrible toll on me, but I was determined to expose what was going on. The treatment that was meted out to me impacted on my health very badly.

“The county council says it does not tolerate racism, so I expect that it will take action to deal with someone who the tribunal found in such a damning fashion to have racially discriminated against me.”

Mr Thomson runs the council’s legal services department and has worked for the authority since 1978.

Compensation for Ms Jarrett is due to be agreed at a hearing on Friday, October 10.