A leading local authority lawyer has left his role as president of Lawyers in Local Government (LLG) while his council appeals an employment tribunal ruling in which he was named.

Philip Thomson, director of Essex Legal Services, made the decision to step aside from his post as LLG president at the end of last month.

The tribunal found in September that Evelyne Jarrett, the most senior black manager at Essex Legal Services, had been unfairly dismissed by reason of racial discrimination. The hearing heard that Thomson made ‘inappropriate references to Hitler’ in the workplace, which he denies.

In a message to LLG members on 30 October, Thomson (pictured) said: ‘A few weeks ago, I mentioned an employment case found against my authority in which I had been named.

‘Today, my authority has lodged a notice of appeal and I have decided to stand aside from my role as president of LLG whilst the case progresses, lest it distract from the work of LLG.’

In the interim, LLG vice-president Bev Cullen will take over leadership of the organisation. Thomson will remain on the board/executive.

The LLG said Thomson ‘has merely stepped aside from outward-facing presidential duties during the appeal process so remains substantively as president’.

LLG was formed in April 2013 following the merger of Solicitors in Local Government and the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors.