A FORMER employee of Newport’s social services department told an employment tribunal their decision to sack him “cut him to the core”.

Rainier Patterson, 52, worked as an independent reviewing officer for Newport City Council for five years, but was dismissed in January.

This was after head of children’s services John Nicholson found he had committed gross misconduct by claiming mileage expenses for journeys which were either not carried out or were not made on council business.

Mr Patterson, who appealed against the decision, is now claiming unfair dismissal and racial discrimination at the employment tribunal at Cardiff’s Caradog House.

He denies gross misconduct and claims his line manager Elizabeth Best, who raised concern about his expenses with the auditing department, treated him unfairly because of his skin colour.

Mr Patterson had sought advice from the Door Supervisors Union, a body the council had not heard of, according to the council’s legal representative Angus Halden.

This meant council staff asked to see accreditation from the union representative, and queried whether correspondence should be sent to the union’s general secretary.

Mr Patterson said this behaviour was discriminatory.

Of Mr Nicholson, he said: “He was more than aware of mycommitment tomywork, it cut me to the core.”

Mr Halden said: “There is no basis that there’s a racial ingredient with the way the employer dealt with him”

Employment judge Paul Cadney is due to give a verdict today.