Asian-origin accountant sues UK firm for racial discrimination

Posted By: Ani
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London, Jan 24 (ANI): A Asian-origin employee in a British accountancy firm is suing the company for racism on grounds that the firm gave him inferior clients as he was not a 'White Briton'.

Despite being hailed as a 'rising star', the 47-year-old Sri-Lankan born accountant claimed that his bosses failed to give him top jobs.

He is suing the firm, where he still works on a salary of 933,480 pounds, and is claiming 2.6 million pounds in lost earnings and pension contributions for over 25 years of employment, the Daily Mail reports.

Pedropillai, who has lived in Britain since he was 11, joined Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) as an audit specialist after graduating in 1986, the tribunal in Croydon, South London, heard.

His lawyer Christopher Jeans said he was soon recognised as a 'star performer', and was regularly promoted. His 'exceptional professional and interpersonal skills' impressed his seniors so much that they 'broke the rules' and proposed him for a partnership in 1997 a year earlier than was customary.

Pedropillai was seconded to the firm's offices in Japan, but on his return in 2001 his career faltered. Despite the fact that his unit dealt with top banks like Barclays and Goldman Sachs, Pedropillai was given only small and high-risk firms to work with, the lawyer alleged.

In a witness statement, Pedropillai said that PwC treated him "less favourably" on grounds of his race.

"I am stuck on a very low role level. However hard I pump my accelerator, I am never going to get up to the kind of income level other partners have got," the paper quoted him, as saying.

By 2003 his rating at the firm had dropped to the bottom level, and in 2004, he received a bad appraisal for dating a colleague, who is now his wife, without revealing the seriousness of the relationship to his boss, the tribunal heard.

When he threatened to sue the firm over racism charges in 2005, Andrew Smith, head of partner affairs, allegedly threatened to dismiss him.

However Suzanne McKie, representing PwC, said the 100,000 pounds, or 12 per cent, pay cut received by Pedropillai last year was roughly in line with the eight per cent salary drop received by partners across the board and that he had a low role grade because he refused to accept any negative feedback. (ANI)

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