Asian detective loses appeal over Met race battle

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The Independent Online

An Asian detective locked in a race battle with Scotland Yard has lost his appeal against a decision clearing his employer of victimisation.

A decision to clear the Metropolitan Police of victimising Detective Sergeant Gurpal Virdi was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

The move confirms an earlier decision to revoke £70,000 compensation awarded to the officer in June last year.

But Mr Virdi, 49, previously awarded more than £240,000 compensation, has three further employment tribunals pending against Britain's largest force.

It means three commissioners, Sir John Stevens, Sir Ian Blair and Sir Paul Stephenson, have overseen complaints of racism by the Sikh detective.

In his latest claims, Mr Virdi said the force victimised him because of a disability and racially discriminated against him during his bid for promotion.

He also alleges colleagues victimised him by a lack of support, subjected him to unfair scrutiny and ostracised him, partly as a result of his previous claims.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the force is defending all of the outstanding employment tribunal cases.

He said: "We are pleased the Court of Appeal has upheld the decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) to clear the Metropolitan Police of allegations of victimisation against Detective Sergeant Virdi in its handling of his application for promotion in 2005.

"We are disappointed that he felt it necessary to bring this case at all. This decision reaffirms that the original award of £70,000 to Detective Sergeant Virdi has been revoked.

"Metropolitan Police policy and practice is designed to allow all members of the service to fulfil their potential regardless of ethnicity or faith. Detective Sergeant Virdi is and remains, a valued officer of the Metropolitan Police."

Mr Virdi's legal challenges against his employer began in 1998 after he was wrongly arrested over claims he sent racist hate mail to himself at Hanwell police station.

The officer, who joined the Met as a PC in 1982, was sacked but a tribunal found he was the victim of discrimination.

In 2000 he was awarded £150,000 and later received a further £90,000 for loss of career and injury to feelings before being reinstated in 2002.

On his return to duty he worked for assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur on community issues and policy.

In September 2005 he served a claim alleging he was racially discriminated against in a 2004 promotion process. It was this claim that led to the £70,000 award that was overturned.

A second strand of this claim, in which he alleges disability discrimination and victimisation arising from the same application, has yet to be heard.

Mr Virdi claimed his employer failed to make a "reasonable adjustment" to the promotion process despite a disability, believed to be failing sight in one eye.

In January 2008, the officer served a fresh claim alleging he was ostracised by colleagues, unfairly scrutinised and that his performance was unfairly downgraded. A decision is outstanding.

Mr Virdi served a final claim in August last year alleging racial discrimination and victimisation during a new promotion process. A tribunal will hear evidence in May.

The Court of Appeal decision is the latest formal case in which the Met has successfully challenged claims of racism.

Last week Saikou Jaiteh, a senior security guard responsible for safeguarding the Houses of Parliament, lost his race claim.

The Metropolitan Police Black Police Association (BPA) member claimed he was unfairly singled out in a row over a reference for a disgraced colleague.

A witness statement by Mr Virdi was read as evidence during Mr Jaiteh's tribunal, documents showed.