The wife of health secretary Humza Yousaf is seeking £30,000 in damages from a Dundee nursery the couple accused of discriminating against their daughter.
Nadia El-Nakla has raised legal proceedings against Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry after the Care Inspectorate earlier this month upheld a complaint she and her husband made against the nursery.
Little Scholars denies the accusations and believes there is an ongoing “vendetta” against the nursery.
Lawyer Aamer Anwar, who is acting on behalf of Yousaf and Ms El-Nakla, confirmed the legal action to STV News and said, if successful, the money will be donated to an anti-racism charity.
A statement issued by Anwar on Friday said: “My client has always been willing to discuss matters with the nursery, but that has proved impossible.
“As long as the owners of the nursery continue to ignore my client’s reasonable request for a public acknowledgement of the Care Inspectorate’s findings, and an apology for the hurt they caused my clients, then we remain instructed to pursue legal action.
“It should be noted that the legal writ lodged on behalf of Nadia El-Nakla this week at Glasgow Sheriff Court is against the company Sword (Nursery) Ltd, which has deployed considerable resources to defend their actions. The action is for an alleged contravention of Section 29 of the Equality Act 2010.
“Any potential compensation awarded through court proceedings would of course be a matter for the Sheriff, however if successful, our client had instructed that this be donated to an anti-racist charity of her choice.
Yousaf and Ms El-Nakla initially sought legal advice after an application for their two-year-old daughter was refused twice by Little Scholars.
The cabinet minister said an application made by a white Scottish friend for a child of the same age was accepted within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, a second application under the name ‘Sara Ahmad’ was rejected.
A spokesperson for Little Scholars Day Nursery said they were “saddened” at the latest development on Friday.
“We were always confident that last week’s Care Inspectorate report would find no evidence of discrimination and that proved to be the case when it dismissed the complaint that our nursery manager failed to display good character and integrity,” the spokesperson said.
“Given that fact, we are saddened, but not wholly surprised, to learn legal proceedings have now been raised by Nadia El-Nakla with an astonishing claim for £30,000 in damages in a continuation of this campaign against us.
“They have previously demanded an apology but we cannot apologise for something we haven’t done – no matter the pressure applied to us – simply to halt what we feel has become a vendetta against a small nursery. We will therefore be robustly defending our staff and our business in any legal case which may arise.
“We remain sharply focused on the care of the children we look after and would like to extend our thanks to the families we work with and those within the local community who continue to support us through this difficult time.”
The Care Inspectorate found in its investigation into the incident that Little Scholars “did not promote fairness, equality and respect when offering placements”.
In a statement released on November 3, a spokesperson for the Care Inspectorate said: “We have upheld a complaint in relation to this matter. Every child in Scotland has the right to good quality care that meets their needs and respects their rights.
“We have identified areas for improvement and we will follow up on these to check on progress.
“We continue to monitor this service. If we are not satisfied that the improvements required have been met, we will not hesitate to take further action.”
But the nursery instructed lawyers earlier this month to “demand answers from the Care Inspectorate” over the “inaccurate” statement it issued to media about the complaint being upheld.