Former employee takes BASW to tribunal over unfair dismissal and racial discrimination claims

The British Association of Social Workers is "robustly" defending its decision to dismiss former advice and representation officer

The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) is being taken to tribunal by a former employee on four claims including unfair dismissal and racial discrimination.

Marcia Lawrence-Russell was dismissed from her post as an advice and representation officer in 2012 after being accused of bullying by a co-worker.

Lawrence-Russell claims she was consistently treated differently and that BASW formed an “unfair” image of her as a “troublemaker” after she lodged an informal complaint of discrimination.

She said: “When I made an informal complaint in March 2012 I was very hopeful that it would be a positive learning experienced for everyone. I didn’t want to make it hostile – I wanted to initiate discussion. My dismissal was after my managers formed an unfair image of me as a result of my complaint.”

Lawrence-Russell added that she was “their only black Afro-Caribbean employee and there was only one other, a secretary, in the 11 years I was there.”

BASW maintains that its decision to dismiss Lawrence-Russell was “entirely necessary and justified,” according to its lawyer Paul Jennings, a senior associate at Bates Wells Braithwaite.

“Ms Lawrence-Russell has previously issued tribunal proceedings against her last two employers. The tribunal has taken the exceptional step of expressing serious concerns about Ms Lawrence-Russell’s claims against BASW stating, ‘many of the claimant’s allegations are, despite vigorous and specific case management, still vague and unsubstantiated’,” Jennings said.

“BASW will continue to defend its decision to dismiss Ms Lawrence-Russell robustly.”

The tribunal will take place in Birmingham and is due to begin 23 October.

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