London SE1 community website

Tribunal hears of racial abuse at St Thomas Street immigration office

London SE1 website team

Two immigration officers who claim their colleagues at a London Bridge office were "proud to be politically incorrect" are suing the Home Office for racial discrimination.

33-year-old Jamil Ahmed told the ongoing Croydon Employment Tribunal that he was repeatedly "excluded" from applying for jobs because of his race.

Ahmed's claims, along with those of colleague Raja Khan, 27, are being contested by the Home Office.

A 2003 investigation found officers at the Immigration and Nationality Directorate used racist and homophobic language. The report recommended action be taken to bring these comments "to an end", the tribunal was told.

Mr Ahmed said the walls of their offices on the fifth floor of Becket House in St Thomas' Street had racist and sexist posters on them.

About 200 staff work at Becket House where they oversee the removal of failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants.

Ahmed also told the tribunal racist remarks were commonplace. He said: "Although I found the comments offensive I thought if I just kept quiet and proved my ability and my commitment to the job that I would be accepted.

"I felt that my career was developing well and that I had real prospects with the Home Office. However, that changed quite suddenly."

Mr Ahmed also said that a "prayer in progress" sign was removed from the office property store which they used as a place of Muslim worship.

He told the tribunal: "I was treated with disdain when at work, sworn at, received racial abuse ... all of these experiences were due to my race and are still ongoing."

The hearing is expected to last 10 days.

The SE1 website is supported by people like you
We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

7,000+ locals read it every week. Can you afford to miss out?

Read the latest issue before signing up

News archive from February 1999 to January 2001
Got a story for us?
Contact us with your tip-offs and story ideas.