A racism case brought against the Government’s listening base GCHQ by Alfred Bacchus, an Asian former employee, was settled out of court earlier this week.
The prospect of the racial harassment and constructive dismissal case is said to have caused a great deal of anxiety among spy chiefs, who even tried to have the media excluded from the nine-day hearing on the grounds of national security, although their request was denied.
It is understood that Mr Bacchus has signed a non-disclosure agreement banning him from talking further about his case but in papers filed before the trial, it was revealed that he claims he was bullied and racially harassed while working as a senior Press Officer. He resigned from his post in August last year and began his claim shortly thereafter.
According to the files, Mr Bacchus had worked in various government departments for over 10 years and moved to GCHQ in 2010. Then in the July, he was asked how he felt about a leaked report on racism at GCHQ.
Feeling singled out as one of the few non-white staff at GCHQ, Mr Bacchus was soon after treated at hospital for anxiety and a racing heart rate, but was made to return to work for the same managers at the listening post in Cheltenham.
The case would have included the report by a Cabinet Office member into racism at the agency from 2010 warning that national security was being compromised due to a lack of ethnic staff.
The report found that black and Asian intelligence officers complained of a racist culture at the listening post and criticised GCHQ for having a “very small pool” of black and Asian staff amongst its 5,000 workers.
A GCHQ spokeswoman declined to comment after the news that the case had been settled out of court was made public.
Mackrell Turner Garrett Solicitors in London
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