Senior civil servant wins employment case against the Commonwealth Secretariat


Specialist employment and discrimination silk Tom Coghlin QC successfully represented a senior international civil servant, who was forced to resign his position with the Commonwealth Secretariat after he was blamed for leaking stories to the press, following a specially convened employment tribunal in London.

Mr Ram Venuprasad resigned from his position as Deputy Head of Office in October 2016 after serving with the Commonwealth Secretariat for 15 years, under the previous Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma. 

Baroness Patricia Scotland QC was selected for the position of Secretary-General in April 2016. When newspaper investigations began to emerge, which highlighted what was reported as extravagant spending by the new Secretary-General, Mr Venuprasad said he had been “marked out” by Baroness Scotland and was blamed for the press leak. Mr Venuprasad denies in the strongest terms that he leaked any confidential information to the press.

The tribunal ruled that disciplinary action taken against Mr Venuprasad was flawed and should be set aside, and that the terms of his employment contract were breached by the Commonwealth, including by suspending him and by making adverse statements against Mr Venuprasad in the media which were calculated to discredit him and harm his reputation.

Mr Venuprasad has won his claim for breach of contract and will be awarded costs at a future hearing.

Mr Venuprasad was also represented at the tribunal by Paula Lee from Leigh Day and Cloisters’ Tom Brown during the early stages of the case. 

Read the judgement online here.