A director at one of Princess Diana’s favourite charities, Ibukun Adebayo, is set for a payout after she was branded “Looney Tunes” by a boss who also sent a work email referring to a sex act and subsequently sacked by the Chief Executive Lord Victor Adebowale.
According to an Evening Standard report, the IT director won her religious and race bias claim against Turning Point, a drugs, alcohol and mental health charity, following the hearing at East London employment tribunal.
The panel ruled the mother-of-five, a devout Christian, was unfairly sacked from her £84,000-a-year IT director job by chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale.
Turning Point adopted Princess Diana as patron in 1985 and she worked with the charity until her death in 1997.
Mrs Adebayo, 48, successfully claimed unfair dismissal and also won some of her claims of religious and race discrimination.
The former model, from Bexley, joined Turning Point in 2004 and managed more than 20 IT staff and a £1 million annual budget at its central London headquarters.
She sought £466,815 in compensation for lost earnings and hurt feelings, but said she wanted her job back.
The panel heard Mrs Adebayo’s boss, David Hoare, referred to her as “Looney Tunes” in one email to Lord Adebowale. In 2011, Mr Hoare, the charity’s deputy chief executive and equality and human rights chief, sent another director an email joking that Mrs Adebajo had been “taught to kiss by a girl”.
He wrote: “We all have to start somewhere. I got my first blow job from [name redacted in tribunal document]”. The tribunal called the remark “highly inappropriate, particularly from the second most-senior paid officer in a large organisation”.
Mr Hoare also sent emails mocking Mrs Adebayo’s Christian beliefs, saying she was praying “in the wilderness”.
After Mrs Adebayo discovered the emails in April 2013 and complained Mr Hoare received a formal warning from Lord Adebowale.
In a “striking degree of double standards”, Lord Adebowale then victimised Mrs Adebayo by dismissing her after she complained, the tribunal ruled. Lord Adebowale sacked Mrs Adebayo that August for “hacking into staff emails”, which she accepted amounted to gross misconduct. The panel found her own behaviour had partly contributed to her dismissal and rejected the majority of her allegations of discrimination.
The panel added “Mr Hoare and Lord Adebowale were the least convincing of Turning Point’s witnesses”.
Mrs Adebayo was previously IT chief at the Royal Albert Hall and Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. She said after the case: “I am a committed Christian and therefore have forgiven them. I hope to return to Turning Point.”
The amount of compensation will be decided in September. A spokeswoman said Turning Point was “unable to comment further”. Lord Adebowale declined to comment when approached by the Standard. Mr Hoare could not be contacted.