The owner of a Dundee nursery being sued for discrimination by Humza Yousaf and his wife, Nadia El-Nakla, says she feels vindicated after the case was dropped.
Ms El-Nakla was suing Little Scholars Day Nursery in Broughty Ferry for £30,000 after an allegation it unfairly discriminated against her daughter.
But the action, launched at Dundee Sheriff Court, has now been dropped.
It came after the couple worked with a newspaper to submit a number of false applications after being told there was no space for their daughter.
They alleged the nursery responded to the fake inquiries from mothers with “non-ethnic” names, saying spaces were available.
A complaint to the Care Inspectorate alleging discrimination was partly upheld.
The Courier revealed how the full report set out that, rather than discrimination over race, inspectors criticised the nursery’s “chaotic approach” to managing applications.
In November 2021, a spokesperson for the regulator said: “We have upheld a complaint in relation to this matter.
“We found that the service did not promote fairness, equality and respect when offering placements.
“Every child in Scotland has the right to good quality care that meets their needs and respects their rights.
“We have identified areas for improvement and we will follow up on these to check on progress.
“We continue to monitor this service. If we are not satisfied that the improvements required have been met, we will not hesitate to take further action.”
But the watchdog was accused of “partisan spin” by Little Scholars Day Nursery, who now say they feel “vindicated” as the legal action is withdrawn.
Little Scholars Nursery owner ‘vindicated’
Usha Fowdar, owner of Little Scholars Day Nursery, said: “Whilst we were 100% prepared to see Ms El-Nakla in court, we are extremely pleased this baseless legal action has been terminated.
“It bears repeating that, despite some extremely misleading headlines and spurious allegations, the Care Inspectorate identified administrative processes for improvement which had nothing to do with discrimination, because there never was any discrimination.
“Any attempt to twist this fact should be called out for what it is.”
Ms Fowdar added: “While I’m pleased our employees will be spared the stress of appearing as witnesses, in one sense I’m also disappointed, as the court case would have been extremely revealing and I’m utterly confident we would have prevailed.
“Despite this vindication, it has been deeply upsetting to have spent almost 18 months and tens of thousands of pounds defending our small nursery against their false claims.
“It beggars belief that, rather than pick up the phone to quickly resolve what was a simple misunderstanding, they colluded in a half-baked sting operation and then mounted a vicious and cynical campaign against us in the national media.”
Joint agreement reached
Solicitor Aamer Anwar, who acted on behalf of Mr Yousaf and Ms El-Nakla, said: “It was a tough decision, but as a mother and father they believe it’s the right one.
“Nadia and Humza, first and foremost are loving parents who like any others would do anything to protect their children.
“The nursery owners may wish to say that they were prepared 100% to go to court, but this was a joint agreement reached and on their acknowledgement of the findings of an independent investigation and implementing the necessary changes in full.”
Mr Anwar said the nursery has agreed to make the admissions process more transparent.
He added: “Nadia believes that as a mother she was justified in raising this legal action, she felt deeply hurt and hopes that as a result real change will take place.
“The matter is now at end and there will be no further comment.”