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WALES: I have always had faith in British justice; Sacked leisure centre worker speaks out after tribunal backs his race claims.

Byline: By GARETH HUGHES

AN IRAQI-BORN man unfairly sacked by a North Wales leisure company last night said he always had faith in British justice.

Last week we revealed how an employment tribunal upheld Wafir Al-Jumard's claims of racial and disability discrimination.

The panel said the 59-year-old of Kingston Drive, Connah's Quay, was also victimised after being followed by two private detectives hired by Clwyd Leisure.

He was filmed visiting a Chester fitness centre and washing his car after boss Ian Turley suspected he was "swinging the lead" by claiming he was unfit to attend disciplinary hearings in 2005.

The tribunal found Mr Al-Jumard was unfairly sacked by the company after 34 years of working in the Prestatyn Nova and other local leisure centres.

Explaining the tribunal's findings at a resumed hearing in Abergele yesterday the chairman said Mr Turley wrongly interpreted Mr Al-Jumard's long-standing disability and overlooked the opinion of the claimant's own GP and a specialist.

In a hard-hitting judgement the tribunal also criticised the firm for failing to investigate previous complaints by Mr Al-Jumard, for not taking similar disciplinary action against other employees and for not making adjustments for his disability when giving him new jobs.

In April 2005, Mr Al-Jumard was given a final warning which was to stay on his record indefinitely. And that, said the tribunal, was contrary to the company's own policy.

The panel also heard how Mr Al-Jumard complained to his bosses at Prestatyn's Nova Centre when two white men refused to share a Jacuzzi with two Asians.

Centre manager Mike Sum-mersgill gave the men a refund which upset Mr Al-Jumard.

Tribunal chairman Sheila Warren said: "The way that was dealt with was indirect discrimination and showed the attitude of the respondent company to issues of race."

Mr Al-Jumard was backed in his claim by the Race Equality Council. Their representative John Roberts yesterday submitted a schedule of loss including loss of earnings, aggravated damages for discrimination, injury to feelings and holiday pay.

The amount due to Mr Al-Jumard will be announced today.

Last night the former leisure centre worker said: "Thirty years of my service were under the control of the local authority, where I was treated with fairness and respect.

"But all that changed when Clwyd Leisure assumed the management of the council leisure facilities.

"Those who discriminated against me represent nobody but themselves," he added.

welshnews@dailypost.co.uk

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Wafir Al-Jumard's complaints of racial and disability discrimination against Clwyd Leisure have been upheld by an employment tribunal Picture: STACEY ROBERTS
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 29, 2006
Words:423
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