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Jewish architect 'did not suffer racial discrimination'

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A Jewish architect who claimed he suffered racial discrimination at the hands of American-owned practice HLW International has lost his tribunal.

Ira Fagin, 48, of Hoxton, London, claimed HLW dropped him from a £250 million project in Quatar, then from the firm, because of his race.

Connecticut-born, UK-registered Fagin began working on a project for Qatar Petroleum in June 2001. Fagin told the tribunal that the director of HLW's 30-strong London practice, Donald Porter, had been concerned about him working as a project manager in the Muslim state. Porter also suggested Fagin change the spelling of his name to suggest to the client he was Irish. Fagin was dropped from the scheme in February 2002 following pressure from the client, and after his transfer back to England was made redundant.

However, the tribunal in central London rejected the racial discrimination claim. It found Fagin was dismissed because there was 'nowhere else for him to go', adding that HLW employed several people from Jewish backgrounds.

Porter told the AJ he had refused to follow the normal course and settle out of court. Fagin was asking far too much at £50,000, he said.

Fagin refused to comment.

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