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Post Office condemned for discriminatory recruitment practices

16 December 2000 - The UK Post Office paid £19,757.19 in damages today after management at the Preston office were found to have applied performance tests selectively, leading to racial discrimination. The Employment Tribunal in Manchester made the award last month, criticising the Post Office's recruitment practices.

The Tribunal found that Mrs Nagamani Mallidi, a postal worker of Indian origin, had received 'less favourable treatment' than white counterparts. Mrs Mallindi was asked to take a written aptitude test in order to stay in employment but several comparable white staff received temporary or permanent contracts without being required to take a test. The Tribunal expressed their extreme unhappiness regarding the way the Post Office operated in terms of its treatment of Asian employees. They pointed to the failure of the Post Office to explain why the test was applied rigorously in certain cases but not in others.

It was stated that when Mrs Mallidi made her complaint of racial discrimination, the management failed to investigate the matter seriously. The Tribunal found this failure to address legitimate complaints to be direct discrimination on grounds of race.

The CRE first took up Mrs Mallidi's case in August 1998. Eric Seward, Regional Director for the CRE North of England commented: "This case sends a strong message to the Royal Mail and to other large employers of the need to review their recruitment practices and ensure there is proper provision for equal opportunities. In this day and age nepotism and word of mouth are totally unacceptable forms of recruitment and, with the predominance of white people in managerial positions, is likely to lead to discrimination of ethnic minority groups."

Mrs Mallidi made the following statement: "Based on my experience, I would encourage anyone who feels they have been discriminated against to seek help from organisations who can advise you about your rights. Had it not been for the CRE I would not have been able to pursue my case and their help has been invaluable."

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