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Former Slough Borough Council legal head complains of racial discrimination, tribunal hears

The former head of legal services for Slough Borough Council (SBC) has gone before a tribunal claiming unfair dismissal and racial discrimination.

The tribunal of Amardip Healy, who left the council in July 2017, opened in Reading on Monday, and is expected to run towards the end of next week.

Mrs Healy claims she was discriminated against during her time working for the council because she is not white, and her legal representative Oliver Hymas has indicated she has other grievances relating to sexual discrimination during her time in SBC.

She did not pinpoint specific individuals who discriminated against her in this way when giving evidence yesterday (Tuesday), but she said was treated differently by the council regarding complaints made about her compared to other employees subjected to the same procedures.

Judge Stephen Vowles pointed out the sheer volume of material in evidence bundles he and colleagues have had to read.

"The total number of pages is almost 3,560, or to put it another way approximately three times the length of Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace,” he said.

Mrs Healy said that on August 19, 2016, a handwritten anonymous complaint about her had been received by a council employee, the tribunal heard.

Another anonymous complaint about her conduct and two other senior employees followed on August 23.

“In four-and-a-half years I’ve never had any complaints now suddenly they come along like busses,” added Mrs Healy.

The hearing heard how in September, Mrs Healy emailed Linda Walker, the council’s deputy Monitoring Officer, asking for an ‘initial view’ on the complaints.

“I just got nothing, absolutely nothing,” she told the hearing.

The monitoring officer is a role assigned within local authorities to ensure that councillors and officers maintain high standards of conduct, to put into practice the council’s constitution and to report any illegal or improper behaviour to the appropriate parties.

IThe tribunal heard that in mid-November, 2016,  Mrs Healy emailed Ms Walker expressing her disappointment at her ‘inability to conclude an investigation’.

She said councillors and other employees expressed similar concerns about a lack of progress made regarding code of conduct related complaints, one of which was surrounded a dispute between two factions within the Slough Labour Group.

However, referring to the email, Simon Cheetham, representing Slough Borough Council, described Mrs Healy’s language as ‘unprofessional and disproportionately aggressive’.

The hearing continues.

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