An employment tribunal ruling that a leading figure in local government legal services made ‘inappropriate references to Hitler’ in the hearing of a solicitor from a minority ethnic background is to be contested, Essex County Council said today.

The tribunal found last month that Evelyne Jarrett, the most senior black manager at Essex Legal Services, had been unfairly dismissed by reason of racial discrimination.

The judgment singled out Philip Thomson (pictured), director of Essex Legal Services and president of Lawyers in Local Government, for criticism. He denied claims that he had made any ‘positive references’ to Hitler. 

A spokesperson for Essex said today: ‘The council has decided to appeal the recent judgment from the employment tribunal. We are firmly committed to equality and diversity in the workplace and we value and respect all our employees. We were surprised and disappointed by the tribunal’s decision and believe it is right that we appeal this judgment.’

No date has been set for a hearing.