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The BBC's Linda Duffin
"The policy of calling up reservists in times of crisis could be jeopardised"
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Monday, 13 March, 2000, 23:18 GMT
Kosovo reservist fights sacking

Kosovo: Mr Nokes worked in intelligence-gathering
A RAF reserve who says he was forced out of his job at a City bank after a four-month tour of duty in Kosovo has claimed unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal.

Sebastian Nokes, 34, claimed that he had been subjected to racial discrimination when he was dismissed by Credit Suisse First Boston.

Mr Nokes
Mr Nokes wants his job back, or compensation
He lost his 75,000-a-year job last August after serving as a flight lieutenant responsible for handling highly sensitive intelligence information.

His solicitors pointed out that the careers of the bank's Swiss employees did not suffer when they were called upon to do national service.

The case was adjourned for a three-day hearing in June to give the bank's solicitors more time to prepare.

Told to resign

Mr Nokes, a former senior manager in the bank's London branch, said that before his dismissal, his performance reviews had been exemplary.

He went to Kosovo on 19 April and served until 18 August last year.

While on active service, the bank called him to a meeting and advised him to resign or be made redundant.

Last September, he received a letter terminating his employment as of the following day.

Mr Nokes told the hearing: "At this time of redundancy I was very concerned about my livelihood, so I signed on at the Benefit Agency for the first time in my life."

Strained relations

The case will have wide-ranging implications for Britain's reserve forces. It is one of the first times a mainstream employer has challenged an employee's compulsory call-up to the armed forces.

Britain's military forces are increasingly reliant on reservists as they struggle to recruit full-time personnel.

The case could affect the Territorial Army
Reservists make substantial commitments in terms of time spent training, which some employers may allow them to take as paid leave.

But it is when reservists are actually called for duty that the relationship between their civilian and military employers sometimes becomes strained.

Mr Nokes, a graduate of the London Business School, has also served as a regular officer with the Gurkhas. He joined the RAF reserve in 1993.

His lawyers argued that the bank sacked Mr Nokes despite belonging to the Employers' Liaison Committee.

The committee co-operates with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to enable workers to spend time as reservists.

The bank has refused to comment on the case.

A spokesman for the MoD said they would watch the proceedings closely, because of the implications for reserve forces like the Territorial Army.

About 1,000 reservists have been used on peacekeeping duties in the Balkans in the past year, comprising about 10% of the British forces involved.

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See also:

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Swiss bank suspends workers
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