College appeals in race case

January 27, 1995

Kingsway College, a further education college in central London found guilty of racial discrimination at an industrial tribunal last November, is to appeal.

Farhad Shahrokni, a maths and computer lecturer, who worked for the college for more than ten years, took the college to court when he was refused part-time work. His complaint that the college, and a number of individuals including Patricia Haikin, the principal, and two senior members of staff, discriminated against him and victimised him on the grounds of race, was upheld.

Mr Shahrokni had already taken the college to an industrial tribunal in December 1990. He was offered a Pounds 4,000 settlement from the college, and an agreement that it would invite the Commission for Racial Equality to discuss the implementation of its equal opportunities policy, in return for withdrawing his complaint.

Mr Shahrokni said that he was disappointed that the local branch of lecturers' union Natfhe had chosen not to support him in his dispute and is considering filing a complaint against union members. Christiane Ohsan, Natfhe's inner London official, said that the union had considered Mr Shahrokni's case, but had been given legal advice that it was not a strong one and not to support it.

The CRE also chose not to support Mr Shahrokni. "In the last few days before the hearing the Hackney Law Centre stepped in," said Mr Shahrokni.

While the appeal goes ahead, the principal of the college will meet Mr Shahrokni to explore what the college can offer in the way of teaching.

"It is absurd that I should be having these discussions with someone who has just been found guilty of racial discrimination and victimisation against me," he said. "In most places a person found guilty of such discrimination would have been suspended at the very least."

Mr Shahrokni feels that he was discriminated against partly because he was co-ordinator of the college's Black and Asian Staff Support Pressure Group.

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