Simon director says manager did not refer to bias until resignation

 

A black woman manager in the homeless charity Simon had never officially complained about racial or sexual discrimination, a former director of services for the Dublin Simon Community has told a court.

Pat Claffey said yesterday he had heard through the grapevine that Tabish Din had provided two board members with a list of grievances and had raised an issue of racial and sexual discrimination at an informal meeting of managers.

He told Judge Jacqueline Linnane in the Circuit Civil Court, where Ms Din is seeking damages for constructive dismissal on grounds of gender and race, that she had never raised the matter with him and if she had, he would have urged her to use established procedures to resolve matters.

Mr Claffey told his counsel Tony Kerr that Ms Din had alleged racial and sexual discrimination only after she had submitted her resignation which he had asked her to reconsider.

He told Mr Kerr that Ms Din, originally from Kenya but now living in New York, had told him in April 2004 when she resigned that she felt she had not been supported by him and could no longer get any satisfaction from her job as a project manager.

"I was quite taken aback," Mr Claffey said. "I had no previous indication that these were her feelings and I said I wasn't accepting her resignation because I felt I had been supportive and available. I always adopted an open-door policy."

When she said she had been treated differently because she was female and black, he felt she had included him in this despite never previously having raised the issue with him.

When he had asked her about this, he recalled she had said: "You are all the same." It would have been known to Ms Din that he was then chairman of the equality committee. He was very clear that for the two years he had supervised her, sexual and racial discrimination had been raised with him only on the day she had resigned.

Mr Claffey denied he had told Ms Din she could put her complaint in writing but that nothing would ever come of it.

Ms Din has told the court she felt she had no option but to resign her position.