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Race complaints by Sikh police officer upheld by tribunal

Chris Greenwood,Press Association
Monday 27 July 2009 13:52 BST

A Sikh police officer suffered racist and religious discrimination during training, an employment tribunal found.

Metropolitan Police Pc Amandeep Kaur Grewal, 38, was unfairly treated by a trainer who singled her out for criticism.

The officer, who is based in Kingston, south west London, was also victimised when the senior colleague said other trainees laughed at her.

But a judge threw out a long list of other claims regarding her treatment in the classroom, the use of role play training and how her complaint was handled.

Mrs Grewal, who is of Indian origin, has now applied for compensation from her employer over the two incidents at the beginning of her career.

A Reading employment tribunal heard evidence from Mrs Grewal, her junior colleagues, training staff and senior officers.

Her tribunal claim was supported by Paul Collard-Odle, a member of the Metropolitan Police's Black Police Association.

Mrs Grewal said her problems began at the Hendon police training college in November 2007 when others were unfriendly with her.

At one point a trainer held a diversity class to deal with growing animosity towards Mrs Grewal among her colleagues.

She then moved on to further training at Sunbury, south west London, where she claimed trainer Pc Lucinda Rigby discriminated against her.

The judge examined several issues including where Mrs Grewal sat in the classroom, how many questions she was asked and whether she always went first in role plays.

Almost every complaint was thrown out, except for two relating to her supervision during officer safety training and a comment about others laughing at her.

The tribunal found Mrs Grewal was given negative feedback and over-supervised in a racially discriminatory manner during safety training.

It also found the junior officer was subjected to unlawful racial victimisation when she was told others laughed at her behaviour during training.

In a written ruling, the tribunal panel said the comments were unprofessional and "potentially hurtful".

They wrote: "In our view, Pc Rigby acted in this way because she felt defensive about the allegations of race and religious discrimination."

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Of the 17 complaints dealt with in the judgment, only two were upheld.

"These were one allegation of unlawful race discrimination and another of unlawful racial and religious discrimination by way of victimisation.

"All other claims, including the claimant's claims of harassment, were dismissed.

"The Met will give full and careful consideration to the written decision of the tribunal. Pc Grewal remains a valued member of the Met."

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