Home Office failed to stop race bullying

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The Home Office racially discriminated against a black employee by failing investigate her claims of bullying in its Immigration and Nationality directorate, an employment tribunal has found.

The Home Office racially discriminated against a black employee by failing investigate her claims of bullying in its Immigration and Nationality directorate, an employment tribunal has found.

Devaline McKenzie said she felt "humiliated and victimised" by harassment in the directorate's ministerial cases unit, which prepares answers to parliamentary questions sent to ministers. Ms McKenzie, 38, from West Norwood, south-west London, said a female colleague publicly belittled her and continually made changes to her work. It culminated, she said, in an "outburst of insults" hurled at her by the colleague when she was asked to draft a response to an MP's question.

Local managers tried to persuade Ms McKenzie against pursuing her complaints, she claimed, and in subsequent weeks she felt people were whispering behind her back and laughing at her. She eventually asked for a transfer out of the office in Croydon, south London. Senior Home Office civil servants failed to investigate her allegations and refused to consider her wish to move.

The London South Employment Tribunal ruled unanimously this amounted to racial discrimination. Compensation will be decided on Monday.

Ms McKenzie's solicitor said: "There was a closed shop which led to institutional racism within the directorate at Croydon, yet senior management failed to address this for more than two years."

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