Arranged marriage dismissal case worker wins ‘substantial’ payout

An office worker who claimed she was sacked by her accountancy firm for having an arranged marriage has won a “substantial” out-of-court settlement.

In one of the first cases to be brought under religious discrimination legislation, Ayesha Sheikh alleged that managers at BDO Stoy Hayward pried into her private life after her parents persuaded her to marry a virtual stranger in Pakistan.

She said that office gossips made her life a misery and a female manager quizzed her about unfounded fears that her new husband would force her to give up work.

Sheikh claimed that manager Emma Howard reneged on a promise that the firm would pay for her professional training before axing her in a “sham” redundancy in December 2005. She said that she was the only member of staff in her 120-strong department to be made redundant, and that her job is now being performed by someone else.

Sheikh has now settled her claim of unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of race and religion with BDO for an alleged five-figure sum.

Shortly before it was due to hear the case, the tribunal was told both parties had reached an agreement, which would remain confidential.

BDO and Howard had always strongly denied Sheikh’s allegations, claiming she had underperformed in her job and was genuinely made redundant.

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