A FORMER work coach at Blackburn Job Centre - sacked after posting inflammatory online messages including tweets directed at Donald Trump, Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson - has won a victory over his old bosses.

But an employment tribunal ruled Ayub Patel contributed to his own dismissal by misinterpreting official advice on how civil servants should behave on social media.

Mr Patel, an employment service worker for 16 years, insisted his comments were directed at "Islamophobic" public figures and not inherently racist.

The tribunal found that Mr Patel was sacked not because his tweets were about high profile political figures, but because they broke the Civil Service code of conduct by revealing his political sympathies.

When questioned by managers, he told them his social media account did not identify that he worked for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The probe into Mr Patel was triggered by a complaint from a member of the public, referred to the agency by the government's own internal audit agency, the Manchester tribunal heard.

An investigator ruled the comments, could be regarded as "tasteless, offensive, racist and political". She accepted his assertions he was not racist though.

The inquiry was shown an e-mail in which he accepted he had read the DWP's behaviour policy and code of conduct the previous May.

Mr Patel, who apologised for his actions, told his disciplinary meeting he would not have acted in the way he had, if he had been aware of such advice. He was sacked on December 1 last year and that decision was upheld on appeal.

Ruling that he had been unfairly dismissed, Employment Judge Carol Porter said the investigator had not identified which tweets had breached the DWP's code of conduct and she had not mentioned how Mr Patel had acted under a "genuine misunderstanding" at the time, he added.

However the judge said the employee had contributed to his own dismissal - and shared 50 per cent of the blame.

Judge Porter added: "The comments made by the claimant on his public Twitter account were offensive, some were derogatory of the current government, and showed allegiance to a particular political party. They were, as he admitted, (a) breach of the standards of behaviour and civil service code."

His breach of contract claim also succeeded as he was not guilty of gross misconduct. Another hearing, to determine Mr Patel's compensation payout, has been set for November 20.