Sacked Ex-Newport council worker claims racial discrimination

A FORMER employee of Newport’s social services department who was sacked for allegedly making fraudulent claims on his expenses told an employment tribunal he was racially discriminated against.

Rainier Patterson, 52, who lives in Bristol, worked as an independent reviewing officer for the council department from 2007 but was dismissed in January this year.

This was after head of children’s services John Nicholson found he had committed gross misconduct by claiming mileage expenses for journeys which were either not carried out or were not made on official council business.

But Mr Patterson, who described his parents as black Caribbean and white English European, denies the gross misconduct and claims his line manager Elizabeth Best, who raised the concern about his expenses with an audit manager, treated him unfairly because of the colour of his skin.

Mr Patterson is claiming unfair dismissal and racial discrimination against Newport council at an employment tribunal being held at Cardiff’s Caradog House.

Giving evidence, Mr Patterson said he had been told by Ms Best that other colleagues were being audited too.

He also claimed that he had previously complained to Ms Best about a fellow colleague he felt intimidated by but that she had failed to deal with this and that Ms Best had also not shown him an anonymous letter of complaint made against him.

When asked by the council’s legal representative Angus Halden why he felt the way he had been treated could be traced back to his ethnic origin, he said: “Having considered and exhausted all options, that is the only thing I can think of.”

He said he felt Ms Best provided regular supervision to his colleagues but not him.

Ms Best denied this.

She said: “Everyone got the same level of supervision.”

She claims Mr Patterson also saw a copy of the anonymous letter.