I was sacked for being Russian, claim

By Jon PettyA HOUSEBUILDER has been accused of sacking a draughtsman because of his Russian origins.Zifat Imanov told an employment tribunal he had been victimised and discriminated against by managers and other staff at Hopkins Homes Ltd.

By Jon Petty

A HOUSEBUILDER has been accused of sacking a draughtsman because of his Russian origins.

Zifat Imanov told an employment tribunal he had been victimised and discriminated against by managers and other staff at Hopkins Homes Ltd.

The company - which has denied the allegations - said Mr Imanov was fired after less than a year in his post because he failed to meet acceptable standards of behaviour.

At the first day of the hearing in Bury St Edmunds yesterday, it was claimed Mr Imanov, 46, had twice challenged colleagues to a fight to settle disputes.

Mr Imanov, who has more than 20 years' experience in computer aided-design, mostly in the petrochemical industry, said he had not been to blame in either incident.

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He also denied having refused to follow instructions, being abusive to colleagues and loading illegal software onto his office computer - all reasons that the company said had contributed to the decision to dismiss him.

Mr Imanov said he had been ignored by managers and shut out of meetings, which he believed had stemmed from his Asian Russian roots.

“I was the only employee of Asian national origin within my department,” he added.

Criticism of his work arose when he tried to improve the standard of

drawings produced at Hopkins Homes' offices in Melton, near Woodbridge,

claimed Mr Imanov.

He added: “As a highly-qualified draughtsman and hard-working employee, I tried to take the quality of drawings to the highest possible level.”

But Hopkins Homes claimed Mr Imanov had upset other staff with offensive and foul language as he highlighted what he believed to be errors with their work.

Disputes with two workers had led to him inviting them outside for a fight, the company alleged, but Mr Imanov, of Campkin Road, Cambridge, said he had not instigated the incidents.

A series of complaints to managers and directors about his treatment had failed to achieve any changes, Mr Imanov told the tribunal panel.

He claimed white members of staff within his department had been treated differently and management had done nothing to tackle what he perceived to be racist behaviour.

In April last year Hopkins Homes told Mr Imanov that he must either resign or face being dismissed. He refused to leave, was sacked and given three months' pay in lieu of notice.

Mr Imanov said: “This decision was unreasonable and vindictive and I believe was made as a result of my complaints of discrimination and victimization.”

But Hopkins Homes finance director, Michael Cox, said: “I believe that the evidence that he was an unsatisfactory employee was overwhelming.”

The tribunal continues today.

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