THE leader of Torfaen council has approved the use of £82,000 from reserves to fund the authority’s case against a sex discrimination claim.

A female ex-employee is claiming £275,000 from the council in the form of an equal pay claim and a sex discrimination claim.

The claimant says she was subject to constructive dismissal, which has led to a loss of future earnings and pension entitlement.

A council report says that an element of the legal action is a claim of “injury to feelings”.

Labour councillor Anthony Hunt met with officers to sign off on the release of the reserve funding earlier this week.

The council say the reserves funding will cover extra costs incurred to support the “anticipated conclusion” of the case, which started from a grievance report in September 2014.

Since then the claimant lodged her two claims, both of which were initially dismissed but later taken to employment tribunal after a successful appeal.

A report reveals that the council has already allocated £155,410 to cover additional legal and human resources costs for 2017/18 and 2018/19.

The authority has already spent more than £80,000 in legal fees as of April this year.

A Torfaen council spokesman said: “All employee claims of discrimination are taken seriously and fully investigated.”

The case to date has been described as “long, complicated and protracted” by the council’s head of pensions Graeme Russell.

The two claims were set to be dealt with separately, but the council say the tribunal has now decided to run the two cases parallel to one another to save time and money.

A tribunal hearing will take place in March 2019.

Writing in his report, Mr Russell believes the decision to run the two cases at the same time could lead to reduced long-term costs for the council.

But the council maintain that they have a strong case, with a spokesman adding: “The council does not accept that any discrimination has taken place in this instance and as legal proceedings are ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”