Computacenter is preparing to publicly sign an agreement with the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), which will mark the end of a five-year investigation into racial discrimination at the reseller giant.
According to Computacenter and the CRE, the signing of the agreement was postponed while the investigations into the death of black teenager Stephen Lawrence were taking place.
A representative from CRE would not be drawn on details of the agreement, but told PC Dealer that it was hoped it could be signed by 24 May. 'We look forward to this laying the basis for development of race equality employment practices at Computacenter,' he said.
He dismissed the idea that Computacenter would be compelled to accept a certain quota of people from different ethnic groups within the make-up of its staff. 'Quotas are unlawful under British law. You can advertise or encourage these appointments, but you cannot lay down what people have to do,' he said.
He added: 'If we can get key players such as Computacenter to adopt race employment practices, it will have an effect overall within the industry.
But it is a by-product, not something enforced in the law.'
The CRE's investigation began in 1994, after two engineers complained of racial discrimination. Alan Pottinger, company secretary at Computacenter, admitted the accusations were true last year while being questioned by employment tribunal chairman John Wheeldon, who was making enquiries into a separate complaint by former maintenance director Mark Sawicki, (PC Dealer, 26 August 1998).
Phil Williams, marketing director at Computacenter, said: 'We have been working in partnership with the CRE over this matter.'
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