Sacked council employee claims he was victim of racial discrimination

Edi Veizi claims he was unfairly sacked from the council after being 'framed' for stealing white goods.

Sacked Glasgow City Council employee claims he was victim of racial discrimination LDRS

A dad who claims he was unfairly sacked from the council after being “framed” for stealing white goods has said he was the victim of racial discrimination.

Father-of-two Edi Veizi, 48, who denies any wrongdoing, is taking his case to a tribunal bringing forward a number of complaints against Glasgow City Council.

Mr Veizi – a British national originally from Albania – said he is fighting to “clear his name” after he claimed the experience of losing his job left him feeling suicidal.

The former accommodation development housing officer believes his dismissal was racially discriminatory and he was framed, a tribunal heard this week.

The tribunal heard managers referred to him as Albanian in emails. His connection to a suspected Albanian criminal Sokol Sefaj – a former lover of Lynda Spence who was tortured and murdered – was also pointed out by an official.

The tribunal heard Mr Sefaj, who has now passed away, was Mr Veizi’s friend.

Speaking before the tribunal began, landlord Mr Veizi claimed: “I am not a thief. I have worked very hard my whole life. I loved my job. I was feeling suicidal as I was discriminated against as an Albanian.”

Mr Veizi worked at the council between 2001 to 2019 when he lost his post after a disciplinary hearing over allegations that he stole white goods.

But documents were referred to during the tribunal which exonerated Mr Veizi, according to a barrister. But the tribunal heard these were never revealed to claimant Mr Veizi.

Managers referred to Mr Veizi as Albanian during email discussions in relation to him and one message said he was intimidating, the tribunal heard.

Referring to an email from a council official Mr Kelly, Mr Veizi said mentioning someone’s national origin singles a person out as being different from other staff. But a lawyer questioned whether this was not “just a statement of fact.”

Mr Veizi also told the tribunal how he was called the “Albanian mafia guy” and “drug dealer” by other colleagues as part of verbal harassment passed off as “banter.”

He said comments were made regularly when he visited an office to carry out admin tasks.

A council officer Mr Scott made allegations about Mr Veizi including that he ordered white goods from the council for his own properties after a whistle-blower report. But the tribunal heard later during the hearing that he was “framed.”

It was understood Mr Scott was intending to seek advice from police regarding the allegations.

Emails shown during the tribunal revealed how Mr Scott pointed out a property belonging to Mr Veizi in Newton Mearns was linked to Albanian criminal Sokol Sefaj.

Mr Sefaj had a relationship with financial advisor Lynda Spence who was last seen in Glasgow in 2011. Colin Coats and Philip Wade were convicted for her kidnap, torture and murder in 2013 but her body was never found.

The trial heard Ms Spence had been recruited as an informant by the police to gather intelligence on Mr Sefaj.

Responding to questions from a lawyer at the tribunal Mr Veizi said he had no knowledge of Mr Sefaj being involved in organised crime and described him as a “normal person” and “family man with two children.”

Referring to press reports that Mr Sefaj was suspected of drug dealing, running brothels and gun running, Lawyer Frances Ross, representing the council, said: “I don’t know how you can describe Mr Sefaj as a normal person.”

Describing Mr Sefaj as a “friend”, Mr Veizi said: “If he wasn’t convicted he is a normal person.”

Explaining how Mr Sefaj is now deceased, Mr Veizi said: “He died of normal causes.”

In his email, Mr Scott also pointed out Mr Veizi was Albanian, which Mr Veizi described as “discriminatory.”

Ms Ross said: “It is not racist for Mr Scott to report as a matter of fact that you and Mr Sefaj are Albanian.”

Mr Veizi said: “It is racist as I’m a British national. I am of Albanian origin but I am a British national.”

Ms Ross said: “It is reasonable for Mr Scott to seek advice from the police.”

Replying, Mr Veizi said: “I have never broken the law. I was never intimidating at work. I was friendly and approachable.”

The lawyer continued: “There is nothing racist in this email. It is just stating facts in order to get advice from the police.”

Mr Veizi said: “You can’t pinpoint people because of who they are and where they come from.”

Mr Veizi received a dismissal letter in April 2019 and decided to withdraw from the appeal process – opting for tribunal instead.

Ms Ross said: “If you had genuinely felt your dismissal was unfair and amounted to discrimination you would have attended.”

Citing concerns over what he felt was a delay in the processing of the appeal, Mr Veizi said he had “lost faith.”

The lawyer said it was the first available date but Mr Veizi said the timeframe delays also exhibited racial discrimination.

Barrister Ayoade Elesinnla, representing Mr Veizi, referrred to documental evidence at the tribunal that exonerated the claimant. Mr Veizi said the paperwork showed white goods were stolen by staff from a separate organisation used by the council and not him.

The document was not shown to Mr Veizi during the dismissal investigation, the tribunal heard.

Mr Veizi alleged the council knew about the existence of the document but wanted to “frame” him.

He said: “It was the staff of RSBI who stole these items.”

Mr Veizi said: “They wanted to frame me because of who I am and my nationality.”

Mr Elesinnla asked if any explanation had been provided to Mr Veizi about why a document exonerating him over the theft of items was not given to him or his union representative.

Mr Veizi said there had been no explanation.

it is also understood Mr Veizi has never been contacted by the police in relation to the theft of white goods accusations.

The tribunal continues.

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