South West Wales

Awema: Ex-chief Naz Malik 'sexually harassed employee'

A former employee of the All Wales Ethnic Minority Association has told an employment tribunal she was scared of the organisation's chief executive and that he sexually harassed her.

Naz Malik is accused of sexual discrimination, harassment and victimisation of a former employee.

Sylwia Bobrowska told the tribunal he had made personal comments and touched her clothing. She was later sacked.

Mr Malik denies the accusations. Awema was wound up earlier this year.

Ms Bobrowska was dismissed last October.

Awema itself was wound up earlier this year following claims of financial mismanagement and losing Welsh government funding.

Ms Bobrowska said Mr Malik had pointed her out in a staff meeting and told her directly she could not have an affair in Swansea without him knowing about it.

She said it made her feel very upset and approached Mr Malik's daughter Tegwen, the operations manager to describe the incident and several previous ones where she felt his behaviour was inappropriate.

Ms Bobrowska said wanted an apology but within 10 minutes she had been suspended and within days she had been dismissed.

Atmosphere of fear

The tribunal heard on other occasions Mr Malik had grabbed her cardigan while she was wearing it, saying she did not need to wrap it around her.

Ms Bobrowska said that should not happen in any environment but especially not a work environment.

She alleges Mr Malik had asked her with a colleague if she was out looking for boys, and another time when she received flowers she told the tribunal, Naz Malik asked her if she had a secret lover

She also said that women in the office had been told not to approach men to shake hands "because that would make them look easy".

Image caption Naz Malik claims Sylwia Bobrowska concocted the allegations

Ms Bobrowska said there was an atmosphere of fear in the office of both Naz and Tegwen Malik, and that everybody in the office was scared to speak to each other.

Judge Cadney has said that there is very little in dispute regarding the facts of what happened and that what is relevant is the interpretation; whether or not the events were sexual discrimination which led to victimisation when the allegations were made.

Naz Malik has alleged that Sylwia Bobrowska concocted the allegations along with other workers to disguise their failings at work.

Administrators were called in to wind up Awema's affairs in February after a report said there was a "fundamental lack of control" at the Swansea-based charity.

The findings of the Welsh government and Big Lottery Fund report into the spending of £8.4m in public funding were examined by police.

It said charity funds were used to pay for gym memberships for staff worth £2,120, rugby and cricket tickets totalling £800, and a £110 parking fine for Mr Malik.

It also said there was a "clear conflict of interest" because one of the charity's directors reporting to Mr Malik was his daughter Tegwen. There were "considerable increases" in her salary from £20,469 to £50,052.

Mr Malik and finance director Saquib Zia were sacked by the charity.

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