A WORKER who took the Scottish Trade Union Congress to tribunal over redundancy has won his victimisation case.

Zaffir Hakim is in line for a payout after an employment appeal tribunal in Edinburgh ruled he had been unfairly treated by the umbrella body.

The 49-year-old had worked for the umbrella body for more than 11 years before being laid off from a Scottish Government-funded scheme targeting workplace racism – with a white colleague kept on in a similar role.

Hakim, who was represented by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), argued that his 2015 redundancy was linked to previous complaints of racial prejudice.

In papers submitted to the panel, Hakim said he had dropped a discrimination complaint in 2014 over threats to his position.

The STUC denied all claims, but the tribunal has ruled that Hakim, who is of Pakistani origin, was victimised and has dismissed an appeal by his former employer.

Compensation will now be set.

Lynn Welsh, EHCR legal head, says the decision is important "for all employees in Scotland" and will make similar cases easier in future.

Meanwhile, Hakim said: "I am glad that this case is finally over and I can get on with my life.

"I enjoyed working for the STUC and I was shocked when I was selected for redundancy as they didn’t seem to have followed any of the normal procedures.

"I felt strongly that they did this to get rid me because I had made a complaint about discrimination before.

"It’s sad when you have to go to a tribunal to challenge discrimination and I am still surprised that the STUC chose to fight this case, given that if they had won, workers’ rights could have been put back by many years."

Hakim joined the STUC in 2003 and stayed there on a series of fixed term contracts until finally working as a development officer on the One Workplace Equal Rights project.

It was launched by the organisation to "challenge discrimination in the workplace and promote good practice".

The case was initially lodged in September 2015 and Hakim's complaints of unfair dismissal and victimisation on racial grounds were upheld the following August.

However, his allegation of direct race discrimination was rejected.

The trade union body appealed the victimisation result four months later, claiming that the tribunal had been inconsistent in its findings.

However, this has been dismissed at appeal by judge Lady Wise.

In a written ruling, she said nothing in the original judgement " suggests the tribunal derogated from its responsibility to find the real reason for the dismissal".

Welsh said any other outcome could have placed an "unnecessary burden" on workers to prove not only victimisation but also treatment different to that of their colleagues in future cases.

She commented: “This is an important decision not just for Mr Hakim but for all employees in Scotland.

"Had the STUC’s appeal been successful this would have made it harder for workers to challenge victimisation by employers.

"We are pleased that the law has been clarified, and this should make future similar cases much more straightforward."

A spokesperson for the STUC said: “We are disappointed by the judgement. The Tribunal threw out the fallacious accusation of race discrimination. It also accepted that the STUC faced a genuine redundancy situation but did not accept that, on an aspect of process, the dismissal was fair. We have now taken steps to corrected our procedures, which will ensure that a similar situation will not arise in the future. The EAT has issued a lengthy Judgement which we will take time to consider in detail before deciding on any further action.”