A Labour councillor who has been suspended by the local party was previously sacked for fraud, it has emerged.
Councillor Bharti Gajjar took her former employers British Gas to an employment tribunal claiming she had been sacked because of her disabilities.
But the judge struck out her claim, ruling that she was sacked for moonlighting at the University of Warwick while receiving carers’ allowance.
He also found that after she was due back at work, she had made up a road traffic accident in order to carry on working at the university.
Gajjar had worked as a customer service advisor for British Gas in Leicester for 17 years when she was dismissed for gross misconduct.
When her son was involved in an accident at school, British Gas granted her paid carers leave while he recovered at home, in what the ruling said “appears to have been an untypical situation”.
The ruling, made by Employment Judge Ahmed in August 2018, said: In the early hours of 8 April 2017, the claimant’s manager received a message on her mobile phone purportedly from the Leicestershire Police to say that the claimant had been involved in a road accident and that she would not be in at work on Monday.
“The manager thought it rather odd that the police should contact an employer directly about absence from work.
“Enquiries were made of Leicestershire Police who said that they had no record of any such call.
“The respondent decided to make further enquiries. They interviewed the claimant who initially said that the accident occurred on a return journey from her aunt’s house.
“However, that was not true and Ms Gajjar later admitted that she was actually returning from a second job she had recently started at The University of Warwick.
“Further enquiries revealed that the Claimant had been in paid employment on at least some of the occasions when she in receipt of payment by way of carers leave.
“There was then a fairly detailed investigation which culminated in the claimant being called to a disciplinary hearing on 21 September 2017.
“Following the disciplinary hearing the claimant was dismissed for gross misconduct in falsifying a claim for carers leave which necessarily implies that the claimant is not able to work.”
Judge Ahmed said that at the hearing, Gajjar said British Gas knew she was working at the unversity, but was unable to offer any evidence that was the case.
She was also unable to offer any evidence she had been discriminated against because of any disability.
He said: “I am satisfied that there is no reasonable prospect of the disability discrimination complaint getting off the ground.
“The claimant’s narrative as to what she is complaining about tends to shift from one moment to the next. Her written case is in stark contrast to what she says today.
“There are differences in her own accounts of discussions with her manager about taking breaks. She does not raise any potential facts which could give rise to an inference of direct discrimination.”
Earlier today, Brighton and Hove Labour announced Cllr Gajjar and Cllr Chandni Mistry, who Brighton and Hove News understands is related to Cllr Gajjar, were both the subject of an investigation.
Brighton and Hove Labour chief whip, Cllr Amanda Grimshaw, said: “Pending the outcome of an investigation by the Labour Party, Cllr Gajjar and Cllr Mistry have been removed from their positions on outside bodies, committees and lead member roles until the investigation is complete.
“They are also currently not permitted to attend Labour Group meetings.”
Cllr Gajjar is ward councillor for Kemptown and Cllr Mistry is councillor for Queen’s Park.