The government’s equality watchdog has faced 15 employment tribunals for sexism, racism and discriminating against pregnant women, according to the latest figures.
The two-year-old Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has faced legal challenges from 12 employees – some with more than one complaint – who have accused it of racial, religious and sex discrimination.
The employment tribunal figures, released by the equalities minister, Maria Eagle, in response to parliamentary questions tabled by the Conservatives, showed that of the 15 cases, at least six were withdrawn and two were dismissed at trial, while others were “settled” out of court. Two are still ongoing.
Stewart Jackson, shadow minister for communities, said: “This is yet more evidence of chaos and confusion in this unhappy Whitehall quango.
“There has clearly been a complete failure of management, which is unfair to both its civil servants and the taxpayer who picks up the bill.”
The EHRC said it had not lost a single case, but refused to say whether it had paid money to any of the employees to settle, the Guardian reported.
A spokesman for the watchdog said: “The commission is working to uphold the highest standards of employment practice and prevent discrimination. We are proud of our diverse workforce and the opportunities we provide for our staff to progress.
“Twelve employees have lodged employment tribunal claims against the commission and, with cases involving two employees still outstanding, we have not lost a case.”
The commission’s chair, Trevor Phillips, is also likely to be investigated over accusations that he attempted to influence three members of parliament’s joint committee on human rights who were conducting an inquiry into the watchdog. He stands accused of being in contempt of both houses of parliament.