Glasgow council manager denies ordering employee with GP sick line back to work

A Glasgow council manager has denied allegations he ordered an employee back to work while he had a sick line from a GP, a tribunal has heard.

Willie Kelly was also said to have referred to staff member Edi Veizi as Albanian in an email when it was irrelevant to mention his nationality of origin.

Dad-of- two Mr Veizi is taking his case to a tribunal claiming he was the victim of racial discrimination and was unfairly sacked from the council in 2019 after being falsely accused of stealing white goods.

Read More: Glasgow council officer who claims staff called him 'Albanian mafia guy' says dismissal was 'racist'

Barrister Ayoade Elesinnla told Tuesday’s tribunal that Mr Veizi had sent an email saying Mr Kelly had ordered him back to work contrary to his sick line in 2013.

Mr Elesinnla said: “That is bullying.”

Mr Kelly said: “I have never ordered anyone back to work especially on the sick."

Challenging Mr Kelly’s conduct in relation to a disciplinary process, which led to Mr Veizi losing his job, Mr Elesinnla said: “You did everything in your power to make sure Mr Veizi was dismissed including coaching witnesses.”

Mr Kelly, a homelessness case work development manager replied: “That is not true.”

Other concerns included discussions taking place about witnesses’s evidence before Mr Veizi’s disciplinary hearing, which wasn’t fair the barrister said.

In an email during 2018, Mr Kelly warned senior Glasgow City Council official Mr McBride that: “This will not be easy. He (Mr Veizi) is very intimidating.”

Mr Elesinnla, representing Mr Veizi, described Mr Kelly’s statement as an “exaggeration.”

Explaining more about his claim, Mr Kelly said: “It was just a feeling in the team – that people felt intimidated.”

Citing a lack of specific examples of staff being threatened, Mr Elesinnla accused Mr Kelly of having a “racist perception.”

He added: “This all comes down to the fact that he is an Albanian national.”

Dismissing the claim, Mr Kelly told the tribunal: “I have never been racist in my life.”

Senior HR officer Angela Smart received an email from Mr Kelly who pointed out Mr Veizi was Albanian.

Mr Kelly had been asking for information about Mr Veizi in the email dated June 11, 2018.

Mr Elesinnla questioned why Mr Kelly referred to Mr Veizi as Albanian and what difference did it make.

Ms Smart replied: “It wasn’t relevant.”

Referring to how nationality is a protected characteristic, Mr Elesinnla asked Ms Smart whether she had a responsibility to highlight the issue of Mr Kelly mentioning it in an email.

Ms Smart said: “On reflection I would agree that.”

Mr Veizi is bringing forward a number of complaints to the tribunal, which is continuing.

The former accommodation development housing officer believes his dismissal was racially discriminatory.

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.

Mr Veizi told the tribunal last week that he was “framed” for the theft and denied the allegations.

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