A SCIENTIST who worked on the Dolly the sheep project has lost his race discrimination claim against the world-
famous Roslin Institute.
Dr Prim Singh won a claim of unfair dismissal against the Edinburgh-based organisation five years ago but his discrimination allegations were rejected.
The 50-year-old took his case to the Court of Session to try to persuade Scotland’s top judges that the employment tribunal made a mistake.
But Lady Paton, Lord Brodie and Lord Marnoch unanimously came to a decision that his appeal should be refused.
The Roslin Institute made the headlines around the world when it cloned Dolly.
Professor Ian Wilmut was given an OBE for leading the team that cloned the sheep from an adult cell in 1996.
Dr Singh joined the team in 1999 after moving from a Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) facility in Cambridge to its premises in Edinburgh to help with their cloning studies.
During his time there Dr Singh claimed that Professor Wilmut was a bully and did not appear to accept that Asian men could have original ideas.
He also claimed the professor had denied him the necessary resources and training for his work and stole his ideas.
But Professor Wilmut said that he had been picked on by Dr Singh in emails demanding he be named as corresponding author on any work they did together.
Dr Singh was sacked while on sick leave in June 2004 despite never being found guilty of any misconduct and was given no chance to plead his case.
At the Court of Session in Edinburgh in June Doctor Singh gave evidence that the decision of the Employment Tribunal was “perverse”.
He claimed that no reasonable Employment Tribunal could have reached that decision.
He also claimed that the Employment Tribunal was biased and that the Employment Appeal Tribunal erred in law by failing to identify and correct the errors made by the Employment Tribunal.
During the employment tribunal Dr Singh claimed that there were 56 different instances of direct racial discrimination against him at both Babraham and Roslin.
He said in his submissions: “I was subject to a hostile work environment at Babraham from 1991 and at Roslin.”
He added: “Despite pioneering and innovative work and excellent appraisals, my fellowship was unduly delayed and then when granted was not extended, I was removed from several positions without good reason and to my detriment, I was denied tenure, I was denied a head of Laboratory role, I was denied promotion, I was provided with inadequate facilities, my grant applications were obstructed or blocked, my staff were prevented from joining me or targeted for unfavourable treatment due to their support of me and I was made subject to a glass ceiling.
“A white UK scientist would not have been treated in this unfavourable manner.”
But in the Employment Tribunal submissions it is said: “It is clear from the facts which we have held established that the [appellant] was a wholly unsatisfactory employee.
“We have held that the evidence showed him to be arrogant, vain, rude, and that he could be aggressive and a bully.
“As we also record, these characteristics had led to difficult interpersonal problems with fairly substantial numbers of individuals throughout the course of all the years covered by these claims of race discrimination and victimisation at both Babraham and Roslin.”
They went on to say: “In the first place, we do not consider that there are any facts which justify any inference which appears to point to direct race discrimination.”
In the Court of Session findings Lord Brodie says: “The Employment Tribunal made very full findings of primary fact. As I have indicated in brief summary and as the Employment Tribunal made explicit, some of these findings were adverse to and critical of the respondents.
“However, the Employment Tribunal did not consider that there were any facts from which an inference could be drawn pointing to direct race discrimination. “
He added: “In my opinion, the appellant has demonstrated no error of law on the part of the Employment Tribunal.”
Dr Singh now works in Berlin while his family still live in Edinburgh.
He had worked at the BBSRC for 18 years and also completed his four-year PHD there.
His wife, Kamaljit Kaur, has accused the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) of race discrimination and has an ongoing case at the Employment Tribunal.
The 48-year-old English as an Additional Language teacher also as an ongoing race discrimination case at employment tribunal against Edinburgh Council.
She has made 61 allegations against 15 members of staff.