A judge has accused Home Office HR professionals of mismanagement and procrastination during a high-profile tribunal case concerning two female interpreters.
Judge Jeremy McMullen condemned bosses at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate as “one of Britain’s least impressive managements”.
Marti Khan and Odette King were found to have suffered discrimination after the Home Office decided to outsource interpreting work to freelancers.
The interpreters won claims of unfair dismissal after complaining that they were paid to do nothing for years. The two women lost their jobs after writing to Charles Clarke – then home secretary – to complain about the way they were being treated.
McMullen said: “What happens when one of Britain’s least impressive managements, by its sole consistent attribute of procrastination, drives two long-service Asian women to become unco-operative and dismissive?
“The answer is systematic race and sex discrimination against them and dismissals unfair according to every tenet in the canon, rightly found by an employment tribunal.”
He added: “Sophisticated employment procedures applicable to the two cases, collectively consulted on and agreed over the years, have been left in wreckage by the mismanagement over 15 years of no less than 101 HR professionals and managers, some disingenuous and blind to discrimination.”
Khan is claiming £970,000 in compensation. King is seeking £550,000.
The claims – including legal costs – could eventually cost the Home Office £2.5m.