Zaheer Ahmed was repeatedly overlooked for promotion because of ethnicity; He’ll get payout after tribunal ruled he suffered race discrimination
May 11, 2018 (DESPARDES/PKONWEB) — A police sergeant was overlooked for promotion in favor of ‘less experienced, less qualified, white’ officers because of his Pakistani ethnic origins, an employment tribunal in UK has ruled.
Zaheer Ahmed, 54, took North Yorkshire Police to court over what he said were racially-motivated snubs during his 23 years with force.
In one case, an officer who had previously been sacked from the force for racially abusing a doorman was reinstated and was allowed to preside over one of Mr Ahmed’s promotion applications, the tribunal heard.
Mr Ahmed also told the tribunal that he was also told by white colleagues that a prisoner was ‘not being serious’ when he called him a ‘n****r’ at a station’s custody desk.
The 54-year-old – who is no longer with the force – will now receive what could be a substantial damages payout in a remedies hearing that will be held on a date still to be fixed.
The tribunal ruled: ‘The tribunal has concluded that a white police sergeant who had passed his or her inspectors’ exams and was seeking promotion would not have been treated in the same way the claimant was to the extent that the various obstacles would not have been placed in that officer’s way.
‘The tribunal is satisfied that the reason why this claimant was treated that way was as a result of unconscious race discrimination because of the claimant’s protected characteristic of his Pakistani ethnic origin.’
Mr Ahmed was subjected to ‘unconscious race discrimination’, plus two instances of ‘direct discrimination’, the tribunal found.
Mr Zaheer left the force after hitting a ‘glass ceiling’ in September last year when he was passed over several times for promotion.
He began working for the force in June 1994 and was promoted to sergeant in 2006 but was unable to progress further for the next 11 years.
He told the tribunal that one of his most disturbing moments as an officer came at Selby Police Station in in April 2014.
He said a prisoner was drunk and swearing before he walked to the front of the custody desk. Mr Ahmed said: ‘whilst stood in front of me and looking at me he called me a n****r.
In July 2014, he was told by Roland Burnett, one of those chosen to investigate the incident, that it was not being pursued because a white colleague, Liz Hartley, felt the prisoner was ‘not being serious.’
He later discovered the incident had been ‘NFA’d’ (no further action) in May 2014 but he had not been told.
Mr Ahmed told the hearing that he was assessed for a temporary inspector post by a Chief Inspector who had previously been involved in a racialy aggravated incident in York.
He said: ‘My application for the temporary inspector posts in York was assessed by Chief Inspector Bloxham and Chief Inspector John Wilkinson. My application was unsuccessful. I received a score of 3/14. The lowest score that could be received was a ‘2.’
‘Chief Inspector Wilkinson was dismissed from the force due to allegedly racially abusing a doorman in York in June 1998. It was stated that he had brought discredit on the reputation of the force or of the police service.’
Mr Wilkinson was reinstated on October 3rd 2000 and went on to become a Chief Inspector.
Mr Ahmed said: ‘I served as a police officer for 23 years, I gave my life to the job and was eager to succeed in my career.
‘I did a great deal of overtime, worked on my rest days and routinely requested to be kept in mind for any experience.
‘My loyalty and dedication has been rewarded with resistance and humiliation. I had an immense sense of pride of being a police officer and that I was part of this organization. To have experienced and witnessed the discrimination within the organization, I can no longer be proud. I am disappointed and I am hurt.
Responding to the tribunal’s finding, Amanda Oliver, the Assistant Chief Constable of North Yorkshire Police said: The employment tribunal recognized the work that North Yorkshire Police is doing in its Positive Action Program to improve the diversity of its workforce, which has a particular focus on the recruitment, retention and progression of people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
‘North Yorkshire Police employs a minimum of 44 police officers and police staff from black or minority ethnic backgrounds, and we are absolutely committed to making sure that every single one of those people has every possible chance to thrive in our organization.
‘I want to assure them, and future recruits, that the findings of this employment tribunal has strengthened our resolve even more.
‘We will now reflect on the employment tribunal’s full judgement very carefully and consider what further action needs to be taken.’