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Controversial Controversial Council Equalities Boss Victimised Sikh Employee


1947-2014 (Archived)
Controversial council equalities boss 'victimised Sikh employee' - Telegraph

An equalities boss is being taken to an employment tribunal amid claims he victimised a Sikh employee.

Dr Mashuq Ally, 59, is paid more than £100,000 to eradicate prejudice at Birmingham City Council as its assistant director for equalities and human resources.

Dr Ally, whose job is also to promote equality for the council’s 25,000 workers, and the authority were last night at the centre of an embarrassing unfair dismissal case.

The father-of-three, an Islamic affairs expert, is accused of race, ethnic, age and disability discrimination by a former worker, Rajpal Virdee.

Mr Virdee 50 year-old, a practising Sikh, claims he was victimised and sidelined in his job as the council’s former £50,000 equalities manager for social services, partly because of his religion.

The council said they would be “vigorously contesting” the claims and said Mr Virdee, had been sacked for gross misconduct after an internal audit.
While the council refused to say what the audit uncovered, it is understood that he was sacked after he was found to have undertaken other employment while off work, which Mr Virdee denies.

In January it was disclosed that Mr Virdee had collected more than £175,000 in wages after being off work for four years.

It is thought at least one other member of his team, understood to also be a Sikh, is to give evidence in support of Mr Virdee’s allegations.

Dr Ally, who also denies the latest claims, has courted controversy before.

In 2003 he was sacked from his role as director of the South-East Wales Racial Equality Council amid claims he had an “improper personal relationship" with a colleague.

The colleague, Rachel Godwin, 31, an equality officer who denied they were having an affair, left the organisation after her contract was not renewed.

The dismissal of Dr Ally, an Islamic affairs expert, came only a year after his resignation as the head of the Campaign for Racial Equality in Wales, following unrelated allegations of professional misconduct.

He quit the organisation before a disciplinary hearing into the allegations could be heard.

Birmingham City Council last night said Mr Virdee’s claims would be vigorously contested.

“Proceedings have been issued in the employment tribunal, resulting from the city council's dismissal of the said employee for gross misconduct following an audit investigation,” said Alan Rudge, the council’s equalities and human resources cabinet member.

"All claims brought by the said employee will be will be vigorously contested.”

He declined to comment further. Mr Virdee was unavailable for comment.
Dr Ally has denied he left his position at the CRE position “under a cloud” despite the organisation confirming he was investigated before he resigned.

He said his employment history was assessed by his new bosses at the council, who had no issue with it.

The case cannot be heard in Birmingham because Mr Virdee sits on that tribunal's board.

It has been moved to a Manchester employment tribunal on a date to be fixed.

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