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TWO COUNCILS FOUND GUILTY OF RACE DISCRIMINATION

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Unison has won a race discrimination case brought against two Scottish councils. Stirling and City of Edinburgh Cou...
Unison has won a race discrimination case brought against two Scottish councils. Stirling and City of Edinburgh Councils were found guilty of discriminating against housing officer Sagaran Naicker, because he had taken out an ET complaint against the first-named council.

Mr Naicker, who is of black, South African origin and brought up in London, was originally employed as a housing officer by Stirling Council where he complained of racial harassment and race discrimination. He settled that claim for substantial compensation three years ago but has now been awarded a further£30,000 from the two councils. The second compensation award came after he was turned down for a job with Edinburgh City following a telephone conversation between officials of the two councils during which Stirling Council warned officials at Edinburgh that Mr Naicker was a difficult person who complained when he experienced racial harassment. Stirling Council were found two-thirds liable and Edinburgh one third.

Peter Hunter, Unison's Scottish legal officer said:

'This case was a clear-cut case of victimisation. Despite Mr Naicker having agreed a settlement with Stirling Council which included a fair reference for potential employers, an official in the council took it on herself to deliver such a damning character assassination, that Edinburgh Council officials changed their assessment of his employment prospects, and withdrew their offer of a job. This was clearly done because he took Stirling to a tribunal when they treated his complaints of racial harassment inadequately.'

Mr Naicker said:

'To have a job snatched away from you, not because of your own shortcomings but because someone else has unfairly bad-mouthed you is a bitter blow. To have that happen because you stood up for your right not to be harassed because of your race is worse.

'It is particularly damning as local authorities like to claim credit as leaders in equalities and anti-discrimination practices, and these are two of the largest councils in Scotland.

'It shows the value of being a trade union member, when Unison stands behind you and can deliver some compensation for all this unfair treatment. I hope that this can give heart to other employees unfairly treated because of their race.'

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