MP ‘sacked employee for aggressive behaviour’

AN ESSEX MP says he sacked an employee because he became aggressive towards a member of his staff.

Bob Russell, the MP for Colchester, has been taken to an employment tribunal by former part-time case worker John Scott, 65, who worked for him last year, claiming he is the victim of sexual discrimination.

At the first day of a pre-hearing review, held in Bury St Edmunds yesterday, the court heard that Mr Russell, in his witness statement, accuses Mr Scott of “cornering a colleague so she could not move away” and becoming “verbally aggressive”.

Mr Scott of Fingringhoe, described the incident as “mythical” and claims he is the victim of sexual discrimination in an all-female workplace.

“I am baffled as to how, in the space of a few weeks, I went from being highly praised to being let go and told to stay away from the office,” he said.

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Mr Scott, who worked for two days a week at the constituency office in Magdalen Hall, Colchester, said he had become the victim of “playground behaviour” from colleagues when a senior staff member went on holiday in June 2009.

“Mr Russell was aware of the problems I was having,” he said. “I was employed to be a case worker and people were being told I didn’t exist.

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“I wasn’t getting my phone calls or my post. When constituents rang up with problems they were being told there were long waiting lists when I had space to help them.”

He also claimed that a volunteer worker had become upset with him because he was being paid.

However, Mr Russell’s solicitor, Jayne Scott, said Mr Scott’s claims were “purely an administration matter”.

“You didn’t like the way the office was run and you’re having a whinge,” she said.

She added that the reason Mr Russell had ended Mr Scott’s employment at his office on June 25 was because he had “become aggressive” with a member of staff.

Giving evidence, Mr Russell said Mr Scott was not being given calls because he was still training as a case worker.

“What I can say with absolute confidence is that cold calls would not be allocated to anybody new,” he said.

The pre-hearing review will continue on Tuesday December 7.

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