IHRC’s recently launched legal department has secured a major victory in a discrimination case involving a Muslim employee.
The department assisted a lecturer at a London university who had complained about racial discrimination to reach an out of court settlement with his employer.
According to the terms of the settlement the identities of the parties cannot be publicised. However what can be disclosed is that the lecturer was given a workload over and above what was acceptable according to the university’s own standards for workload management. In contrast, white colleagues were given a substantially lighter workload and told that they should not take on more.
After his objections met with resistance from line managers, the employee lodged a formal grievance. However instead of taking it seriously he was subjected to disciplinary proceedings, leaving him with little choice but to seek legal advice. IHRC advised the lecturer to file a claim for indirect discrimination and victimisation. Last week the university in question chose to settle the case before the final tribunal hearing.
Indirect discrimination occurs when a provision or criterion is applied equally across the board, but disproportionately affects one group (here it was a racial group) over others. Victimisation occurs when an employee performs a ‘protected act’ (for example raises a complaint, health and safety issue, helps someone with a tribunal claim etc) and as a result he/she is subjected to some form of detriment.
IHRC Legal’s senior legal officer Musthak Ahmed said: “Discrimination in the workplace remains unchallenged far too often. This is made worse by cuts to the Legal Aid budget as well as the introduction of tribunal fees. At IHRC Legal we now have the infrastructure to challenge all forms of discrimination.”
The case was the first major discrimination complaint to be brought to a successful conclusion by IHRC Legal which was set up earlier this year in the wake of swingeing cuts to the legal aid budget which has had the effect of restricting the ability of people to seek legal redress in the courts. The department was formed in recognition of the urgent need for high quality and affordable legal advice services.
IHRC Legal specialises in discrimination, unfair dismissal, breach of contract and wrongful dismissal claims, unlawful deduction of wages, grievances, support during disciplinary and investigatory proceedings and representation at the Employment Tribunal.
It also works with businesses and charities seeking to develop their organisation through formalising their contracts of employment and workplace policies, as well as advising on ongoing HR issues.
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IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.
Islamic Human Rights Commission
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