Former Dundee City Council employee loses Employment Tribunal claim

MoJA former employee of Dundee City Council has lost the majority of his Employment Tribunal claims against the Council after it ruled that he had not been unfairly dismissed, victimized, discriminated against, or harassed either before or during the course of his employment.

Mr James Owusu, 59, brought claims for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, race-related harassment, direct race discrimination, and victimization in the Employment Tribunal after he was dismissed for gross misconduct from his position as parking services team leader in 2012.

Mr Owusu’s claims came to an Employment Tribunal hearing earlier this year, with Mr Owusu and other current and former employees of Dundee City Council giving evidence in his claim. Mr Owusu claimed that he had been racially harassed by other staff members by being called “Jimmy Manyana” – a reference to the fact that he would put off work until the next day – and that he had been discriminated against when he was dismissed from his job. The Council contended, however, that Mr Owusu had been dismissed for gross misconduct after he had ignored a reasonable management instruction from Mr Neil Gellalty and carried out an investigation of his own into staff complaints against him. When Mr Gellalty discovered that Mr Owusu had carried out an investigation against his instructions, he summoned Mr Owusu to his office and Mr Owusu was ultimately dismissed from his employment after an investigation and disciplinary process had been carried out.

The Employment Tribunal found in the Council’s favour in Mr Owusu’s claim for unfair dismissal, finding that the Council had carried out a reasonable investigation into the allegations against Mr Owusu. Further, the Tribunal also found that Mr Owusu’s dismissal had been for the reason of misconduct, not for any discriminatory reason, and therefore dismissed this ground of claim. The only claim in which the Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Owusu was his claim for wrongful dismissal, which was upheld. Mr Owusu was therefore awarded £6,496 in damages.