Allegations of racism and sexual harassment at a bin depot have sparked a council inquiry.

There are also claims of disability discrimination at the Hollingdean Depot in Brighton.

“Significant” numbers of whistle-blower complaints about bullying and intimidation have been made by Brighton and Hove City Council staff.

Now the council says an independent investigation into working culture within the Cityclean team will take place and will be headed by a barrister.

Speaking about the allegations, council leader Bella Sankey said: “A significant number of council workers have come forward to disclose allegations of sexual harassment, racism, discrimination based on disability, bullying and intimidation taking place at the Hollingdean Depot.

“We take such complaints extremely seriously and that’s why we’ve asked Aileen McColgan, Kings Counsel, to conduct an independent investigation into these allegations.


“Every member of our valued staff team should be able to work in a safe, comfortable and non-discriminatory environment. Unacceptable behaviour in the workplace will not be tolerated.

“If anyone has information relevant to this inquiry then I’d like to ask them to speak with our investigator. Current and former Cityclean employees or those with concerns can email Aileen McColgan directly on

“Following the inquiry the council is committed to taking necessary action to address the concerns that have been raised with us.”

Following the whistle-blower complaints, the independent inquiry was launched yesterday.

A council spokesman said a welfare line has been opened for Cityclean staff and care and support is being offered to workers.

Aileen McColgan, the barrister leading the inquiry, is an expert in labour, discrimination and human rights laws and was previously a professor of human rights law at King’s College London.