Croydon Council has been told to pay more than £2,000 to a social worker who was accused of housing and tenancy fraud.

The payout was settled last week after an employment tribunal held in 2019.

Ms E Onigbanjo accused Croydon Council of unfair dismissal, victimisation and discrimination.

However, the judge only upheld one of her claims for victimisation.

Ms Onigbanjo was employed by the council as a newly qualified social worker in 2015 and went on maternity leave in her first year of work.

While she was off, Croydon Council started to investigate her for tenancy fraud as she was claiming housing benefit in Croydon and in the borough of Kingston, where she was studying.

An investigation found she was also wrongly claiming council tax student exemptions on two properties.

The council also started a disciplinary process as she had not filled in previous names and addresses on her DBS form (Disclosure and Barring Service), which is a criminal record check.

In August 2015 she changed her name by deed poll to Miss Eniola Gabriella Onigbanjo.

She had previously changed her name in 2008 from Enitan Ononuga to Enitan Eniola Onigbanjo.

Ms Onigbanjo chose to delay an “investigatory” meeting on the matter until her maternity leave was completed.

Two days before she was due to return to work in August 2017 she raised a grievance in relation to complaints about access to IT and the council building saying it was victimisation, this claim was not upheld by the tribunal.

However, a second claim of victimisation was upheld by the judge. Ms Onigbanjo claimed that she was asked to attend a meeting to discuss her being let go from the council.

It found that the social worker was “misled” as to the purpose of this meeting.

She believed it was a meeting to discuss her grievance appeal.

The ruling said: “This meeting was held by a senior HR person who appeared to produce no minutes of the meeting and there was no evidence led by [the council] on this point.

"[Ms Onigbanjo] stated that she was told in this meeting that she was facing dismissal for the DBS matter.

“The Tribunal have found that she was subjected to a detriment and there was a direct causal link between the protected act and the circumstances under which the meeting was called, the option put to [Ms Onigbanjo] which was to face disciplinary proceedings leading to dismissal if no settlement was reached.

“We conclude that on the evidence the burden shifts to [the council].

"Since [the council] has called no evidence to suggest that the meeting was called for reasons unrelated to the protected act we concluded that this was an act of victimisation.”

The tribunal found that there was no evidence to suggest Croydon had intensified its investigation into the social worker when she lodged an employment tribunal case.

It also did not uphold a claim of unfair dismissal or that her dismissal had been “pre-meditated”.

The judgement added: “Although we have concluded that the conduct of this meeting was an act of victimisation, we do not conclude that this in any way impacted on the fairness of the disciplinary process.

"We reach this conclusion because those conducting the investigation were independent, the investigations manager was also independent of the fraud team and the dismissal and appeals manager were independent.”

On June 2, the “remedy” of the case was published on the tribunal website. Croydon Council was told to pay £2286.41 for injury to feelings.

This sum includes £786.41 in interest at the rate of 8 per cent for the period August 19, 2016 and January 8, 2023.

A spokesperson for Croydon Council said: “We have accepted the findings of the employment tribunal and agreed to pay the claimant £2,200.”