Israeli academic accuses Manchester NHS trust of discrimination
Professor Moty Cristal says his invitation to host a workshop was withdrawn on account of his nationality
An academic has brought a claim against an NHS trust in Manchester and a leading public sector union after his invitation to run a workshop was withdrawn on allegedly discriminatory grounds because he is Israeli.Professor Moty Cristal, an Israeli expert on negotiation and conflict resolution, has filed a case claiming discrimination with an employment tribunal, which names the Manchester mental health and social care trust and one of the UK’s biggest unions, Unison.
Referring to the court proceedings, a spokesman for the trust said: “We do not comment on matters that have yet to be adjudicated.”
The Manchester employment tribunal service said the claim had not yet been received. A spokeswoman for Unison said on Thursday: “We can confirm that Unison is named in the case – we are considering our response and cannot comment further at this stage.”
The claim centres on a session, which Cristal had been due to lead on 8 May until it was cancelled by email at the last-minute as a result of complaints from Unison representatives. Cristal alleges that he was told his masterclass on the role of negotiation in dealing with conflict would go against union policy.
The chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, Jeremy Newmark, told the Jewish News that the organisation was supporting Cristal in his legal action. Newmark said they were “liaising closely” with the government of Israel on the matter. “Because the early stages of proceedings have begun, I am unable to comment further,” he said.
Cristal is chief executive of Nest Consulting, an Israeli firm that advises and trains companies and organisations in the private and public sectors in crisis management and complex negotiation. Its clients are based in Europe, the US, Russia and south-east Asia as well as Israel. Union-management relations are one of Cristal’s specialisms.
When the session was cancelled, Cristal said he was furious and deeply disappointed, saying that he is perceived as an expert rather than an Israeli.
He was sent an email explaining it was the union and TUC’s policy to support the Palestinian people.
The Manchester mental health and social care trust said at the time that Cristal’s name was originally put forward by a third party.
Representatives later informed the trust that participation by its members would be in direct conflict with the union’s official policy stance. Given the likelihood that large numbers of staff would boycott the event, the decision was made to cancel.