A former council boss who has launched a sex discrimination claim against a Black Country authority after being sacked claims he was treated differently to senior female managers and that he has been the victim of a ‘witch hunt’.
Paul Davies, former executive director for social care and inclusion at Walsall Council, was sacked in March after a 15-month suspension.
The 51-year-old has brought a claim of sex discrimination to an employment tribunal. He appeared at a preliminary employment tribunal hearing in Birmingham yesterday to make a request for the unfair dismissal allegation to be coupled with his original claim.
But Employment Judge Colin Goodier turned down the request to avoid potential problems in the future after submissions were made by Mr Shabbir Lakha, on behalf of Walsall Council, and he will now have be lodge the claim separately.
Mr Davies, who said he had been dismissed on allegations of gross misconduct, pleaded for a tribunal hearing to be held as soon as possible claiming he had been suffering both financially and from stress.
He told the hearing: “I’ve received no pay since February this year. The longer this drags on for me I am disadvantaged.”
Speaking after the hearing, Mr Davies said he had brought the sex discrimination claim because he says the treatment he received from the council was different to female members of staff from the authority. He said: “Other senior female managers in adult services were bound up in issues in which I was sacked. They were not investigated. I feel like I was a victim of a witch hunt, like I had been singled out.”
His employment tribunal hearing is due to take place in October.
Mr Davies, who was paid more than £138,000 in wages during his period of suspension, joined the council in spring 2010 after moving from Oldham Council, where he had been assistant executive director for adult social care since 2004. He was in charge of Walsall’s social care and inclusion department when a controversial shake-up of domiciliary care charges was introduced.
At the time of Mr Davies’ dismissal, Council leader Mike Bird said it had been alleged that Mr Davies had breached the rules set for a chief officer. He said the allegations were heard over a period of nearly three weeks and the circumstances were due to procedures, rules and issues surrounding the chief officer’s code of conduct.