A Birmingham MP will talk to a city law firm after a Muslim legal assistant won a £75,000 payout when she was nicknamed “tent head” by a senior partner.
Saleca Faisal-Parkar, from Great Barr, agreed the out-of-court settlement with Shakespeare Putsman after she was referred to as “Mother Teresa” by Stephen Jones.
The 31-year-old was claiming compensation from the legal firm, formerly Shakespeares, for unfair treatment because of her pregnancy, religious beliefs and traditions.
Mr Jones, a former deputy district judge and member of the Solicitors’ Disciplinary Panel, said in an email to a colleague: “From where I sit tent ‘ead looks like a flipping nun today unless there are auditions for the Sound of Music on somewhere?”
Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood expressed his concern at the case but said he welcomed the chance to meet with Shakespeare Putsman to discuss ways forward.
“It’s constructive and positive and I very much welcome this,” he said. “I don’t think fining or demoting is the issue, we need to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”
Mrs Faisal-Parkar, who is now a qualified but non-practising barrister, was employed at the firm from April 2004 to May 2007 as a paralegal within the banking litigation team.
Shakespeare Putsman, one of the Midland’s leading law firms, admitted her claims that her billable time was unfairly written off and that she was not given support and assistance to become a solicitor.
They also admitted that her complaints were not followed through correctly once she raised her grievance.
The mother-of-one agreed to the settlement at the start of a three-day employment tribunal in Birmingham.
“It has had a devastating effect on myself and my family and I would now wish to try as best I can to get on with my life and my career,” she said.
Mrs Faisal-Parkar is now set to receive a letter of apology from Mr Jones, the former head of litigation who has since been demoted.
The letter, seen by her solicitor Avi Pawar, will read: “I unreservedly and without limitation apologise for the appalling treatment that I subjected you to whilst you were employed by Shakespeares Solicitors and Shakespeares Putsman LLP.
“I am very sorry for the hurt, injury and loss that you and your family have suffered as a result of my actions and behaviour during your employment.”
A spokesman for Shakespeare Putsman said: “Shakespeare Putsman LLP would like to apologise for the actions and behaviours towards Mrs Saleca Parkar that have caused her unnecessary distress.
“The incidents occurred a number of years ago at Shakespeares Solicitors. They are deeply regretted by the individual involved and by the firm. Disciplinary action has been taken against the individual involved. The new firm which commenced trading on 1st April 2007 has provided appropriate training to all of its staff and systems are now in place to ensure that this type of incident cannot be repeated.”