Race case victim wins new job

17th May 1996 at 01:00
A lecturer settled his discrimination claim after being offered equal opportunities work. Lucy Ward reports. A lecturer who accused his college of racial discrimination has been given nearly Pounds 11,000 in compensation and a new role as an equal opportunities adviser.

In an unusual settlement agreed by both sides, electronics lecturer Ali Liaquat will now police his college's record on race.

Mr Liaquat took Glasgow College of Nautical Studies to an industrial tribunal after being turned down for a senior lecturer's post.

But before the tribunal ended, the two sides reached a settlement, and Mr Liaquat got the newly-created job.

The lecturer welcomed the deal, but said colleges in general needed to address equality issues. "The problem is real and colleges really need to recognise that. But I think this type of case does not often result in settlements like this. It promotes an area I am interested in and is beneficial to the college. "

Mohammed Akram, president of the Council of British Pakistanis, which represented Mr Liaquat and suggested the creation of the equality adviser post, said racial discrimination was "particularly widespread in employment promotion within our education system".

He added that while Mr Liaquat had been fortunate many other staff had been driven out of work as a result of discrimination and had seen their lives ruined, he said.

Mr Liaquat, a Pakistani, told the industrial tribunal that last year because of racism he was passed over year for promotion for a less experienced colleague with fewer academic qualifications. He claimed that a complaint he had made about a member of the interview panel was pending at the time.

He also claimed that in 1987-88 there had been a campaign of racial discrimination against him in which students had been encouraged by a staff member to sign a petition complaining about his teaching. The college admitted he had been a victim of discrimination by a lecturer who had since been dismissed, and agreed to pay nearly Pounds 11,000 compensation.

In his new role, carried out in time set aside from teaching, Mr Liaquat will provide guidance and counselling to staff and students, particularly those from ethnic minorities. They make up about 10 per cent of full-time students and 5 per cent of part-timers.

He will also be responsible for reviewing the college's equal opportunities and anti-racist education policies and recommending improvements, and will record instances of racial harassment or discrimination.

College principal Chris Hunter said both sides had felt an industrial tribunal was unlikely to produce a satisfactory solution to the problem. The college welcomed the suggestion of the new post, he said.

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