Ealing Council worker wins racial discrimination case

Resignation of leader demanded as tribunal hears of 'glass ceiling'

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After a four-year battle with Ealing Council, Surveyor Lakhbir Rihal finally won his racial discrimination case and was awarded £44,000. Rihal, who still works in the Council’s housing department, complained that less-qualified white colleagues were promoted over him at the London Borough of Ealing.

An employment tribunal ruled against Ealing Council who then took their case to the Court of Appeal. Investigations uncovered a "glass ceiling" within the council which prevented ethnic minority staff from securing senior management roles.

Paul Kenny, a senior official of the GMB union, which supported Mr Rihal, called for the leader of Ealing Council, John Cudmore to “do the decent thing and resign.”

Ealing Council's interim head of legal services Chris Hughes described the Court of Appeal's decision as "disappointing" stating "We pursued this case because we believed the original employment tribunal had erred in law in its decision. The council remains committed to equal opportunities for its entire staff, a fact that is reflected in the current statistics of black and ethnic minority staff in the housing department.”

Mr Rihal, who has worked for Ealing Council for 12 years and is currently applying for promotion said "I would like the council to take notice of these things and to at least give a fair chance to Sikh people like myself who are highly qualified."

June 8, 2004