Council refuses to accept inquiry findings and reinstate worker

The
London Borough of Lambeth is refusing to reinstate a ‘black activist’ despite
being ordered to do so by a public inquiry.

According
to the Evening Standard newspaper, the worker has also been awarded £5,000 in
compensation after he lost his job for exposing racism within the council’s
services.

Owolade
exposed racism within the department, but was sacked for gross misconduct in
November 2001 for allegedly abusing a council manager.

An
employment tribunal found he was unfairly dismissed and victimised because of
his campaign and his union membership.

A
subsequent public inquiry revealed racist bullying, victimisation, sexual
harassment and unprofessional conduct within the council.

But
although it praised Owolade’s persistence in highlighting racial abuse, the
inquiry criticised his tactic of personal attacks on managers.

The
tribunal reconvened to set compensation for Owalade – awarding him £5,000 plus
back pay, and ordering Lambeth to give him his old job back by October.

However,
the council said reinstatement would be "impracticable" because of
his personal attacks on management.

A
statement from Lambeth Council said: "The campaign which Mr Owolade and
his supporters have waged has engendered such antagonism and he has made so
many personal verbal attacks on staff that the relationship of trust and
confidence no longer exists and could no longer exist."

By Quentin Reade

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