Ex-Cordant executive Bell awarded nearly £300k by tribunal

A former executive at multi-sector recruiter Cordant Group, who was called a ‘gippo’ in board meetings, has been awarded nearly £300k in a race discrimination case.

 

The Telegraph reports a former executive at multi-sector recruiter Cordant Group, who was called a ‘gippo’ in board meetings, has been awarded nearly £300k in a race discrimination case.

Belfast-born Edward Bell, who has Romany heritage, was later wrongfully fired from Cordant for “whistleblowing”, an employment tribunal heard.

Bell, who was based at the firm’s Manchester office, was also told he was the only person who could wear good clothes and “still look like a gipsy”.

Bell began his role with Cordant in June 2014 as managing director of Cordant Dynamic People Recruitment, a new technology division. The tribunal heard that Bell’s line manager, Sid Barnes, made his life miserable from the start, commenting on his “strong and thick” Irish accent. Barnes also told Bell he looked like a “tinker” and made jokes about his “horse and cart”.

Bell – now MD at IT and technology recruiter Dynamic Professionals – said the abuse worsened after he told Barnes that Cordant had purchased recruitment company Staffgroup at an over-inflated price of £21m, providing him with what he believed were falsified invoices.

It emerged at the tribunal that Barnes reacted to this claim badly, particularly as he is friendly with both Staffgroup co-founders – Paul Flynn and Mark Znowski – and even attended Flynn’s wedding.

The judge said: “We consider Mr Barnes’ friendship with the MDs of Staffgroup Ltd to be significant.

“The affiliation with Staffgroup would be consistent with Mr Barnes reacting badly to the claimant raising protected disclosures relating to the conduct of Staffgroup.”

Bell was put on gardening leave at the end of September 2015 and given six months’ notice, which expired in March 2016. The tribunal heard that Barnes forced him out with false allegations of poor performance.

Bell was awarded £283,472.03 to cover loss of earnings, bonuses, pension, life assurance, long-term illness insurance and injury to feelings.

In a statement sent to Recruiter, the Cordant Group said: “The recent remedy judgement is subject to an ongoing appeal, so we will not be making any comments on the specific details of this case, which relates to allegations made in late 2015. The Cordant Group does not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind and has well-established policies and procedures in place for employees to escalate concerns.”

 

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