The wife of Frank Dobson, the Labour candidate in the London mayoral election, has been criticised by a tribunal that found the council for which she worked guilty of racial and sexual discrimination.
The Employment Tribunal concluded that Wangui Wa Goro, who worked in a section headed by Janet Dobson, was suspended from work for nine months on "inadequate and unsatisfactory" grounds, a copy of the ruling released by Ms Wa Goro's lawyers said. She received "extremely cavalier and unfair treatment" from Hackney council in east London.
The equalities officer was told by Mrs Dobson in September 1994 that she had been suspended after allegations that when asked to compile equality guidelines for the borough's schools, she had plagiarised large parts of a report by another council and passed it off as her own. Two of the three panel members said Ms Wa Goro, of Kenyan origin, had seemingly been "uniquely singled out" for this disciplinary action given that white or male colleagues accused of similar offences had escaped censure.
Mrs Dobson was criticised, with the tribunal saying she "formed the view the appellant was guilty" even before a meeting with the employee had taken place. "Mrs Dobson did not approach the investigatory meeting with an open mind," the ruling said.
It added: "Mrs Dobson decided that the applicant was guilty of plagiarism and deception and as far as Mrs Dobson was concerned the purpose of the meetings with the applicant was to hear any submissions on mitigation and decide the appropriate penalty."