TORFAEN council has been locked in a four-year legal battle with an ex-employee who has made a £275,000 claim against the authority, a report has revealed.

The claim involves an equal pay claim and a separate sex discrimination claim, which stems from an initial grievance report in September 2014.

Following an investigation, the employee’s case was rejected but an appeal and an employment tribunal claim for compensation were lodged in December of that year.

The cabinet report says: “The case to date has proven long, complicated and protracted with large volumes of evidence, documentation and challenge required.

“A number of tribunal hearings have taken place, but the first part of the claim is still to be determined and the second has only just commenced.

“The view on this matter however remains that the council has a strong case and should continue to defend the case.”

For the council’s case to continue, an application for up to £82,000 to be drawn from reserves has been sent to leader Councillor Anthony Hunt.

The council has already agreed to part with £155,410 to cover additional legal and human resources costs for 2017/18 and 2018/19.

The report shows that the authority has already spent more than £80,000 in legal fees as of April 2018.

Cllr Hunt had previously been warned that more could be funding required if “due legal process alters the course of this case”, something which is said to have happened.

According to the report the tribunal was originally supposed to deal with the equal pay and the sex discrimination claims separately.

But to save time and money the tribunal has decided to bring the discrimination case before the outcome of the equal pay case, meaning both claims will now run at the same time.

The report says: “Whilst the equal pay element was factored into the previous funding request, only a portion of the discrimination case was since it was anticipated that this would run well into 2019/2020 based on previous order issues by the tribunal.”

The council’s head of pensions Graeme Russell, who wrote the report, has welcomed the decision to run the cases in parallel as it could “lead to reduced long-term costs”.

A decision on the funding proposal will be made next week.