Award of €13k for victim of racial discrimination

A Nigerian woman has been awarded €13,000 in compensation against her employer, BT Ireland, after the Equality Tribunal found she had been discriminated against on racial grounds.

Sola Fajembola’s award was on the basis that she was the only employee questioned by management after a manager’s signature was forged on a software release document. In Jul 2009 Ms Fajembola was summoned by her manager and told a colleague claimed she was responsible for the false signature. She was asked to attend a factfinding meeting immediately.

Ms Fajembola, a software engineer, protested her innocence, requested a thorough investigation, and demanded that gardaí be called in. However, gardaí were not informed.

She was put on a precautionary suspension and was walked off the premises. A few weeks later she attended a disciplinary hearing, with the allegation that she had falsified the signature. Again she requested that others be investigated and that gardaí be involved.

The Equality Tribunal said that BT Ireland, in its finding in relation to the falsification of documents, “did not uphold this allegation against the complainant and stated that it would not proceed with the investigation as staff were not very clear about procedures”.

BT Ireland said the complainant had misrepresented the disciplinary proceedings against her and omitted details of a further allegation against her. It said its decision to initiate an investigation into these two separate allegations was justified and unrelated to her race.

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