BDO denies arranged marriage claim

An employee who claims she was sacked by BDO Stoy Hayward for having an
arranged marriage was in fact sacked because she was not up to the job, the firm
has claimed.

BDO has responded to the claims made earlier this year, that it unfairly
dismissed 21-year-old Ayesha Sheika.

In its formal defence to the allegations, BDO said it intends to ‘resist in
its entirety’ Sheika’s tribunal claim that she suffered discrimination on the
basis of her race and religion.

Sheika claims a manager turned her down for training because of fears her new
husband from Pakistan would make her give up work.

But BDO’s defence document said: ‘The reason given to Mrs Sheika, which was
the true reason for the decision, was that Mrs Sheika’s performance had not
reached an acceptable or consistent level.’

She had also been quizzed, it was claimed, about her future plans by a
manager. The firm is said to have reneged on a promise of training, and made her
working life a misery by office gossips.

BDO denied Sheika’s claim that a female manager pried into her private life.
BDO said that during an appraisal meeting Sheika ‘volunteered’ details about her
marriage which were ‘then discussed openly and informally’.

The firm insisted that Sheika, an administrator in the tax department, was
made redundant in December last year as part of a genuine work reorganisation
after she turned down an offer of alternative work.

It said: ‘BDO denies that Mrs Sheika’s selection for redundancy was “a sham”
and further denies that Mrs Sheika’s role has in effect survived, performed by
another employee’.

‘During the redundancy consultation process, Mrs Sheika made it clear that
she only wanted a tax role and there were no such opportunities available at
that time.’

An internal investigation is still underway. The case is due to be heard over
six days in late July.

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