The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London. Reuters

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has allegedly dismissed an employee from its South Africa business for failing to attend a performance review which was set up after he made racial discrimination complaints about the company.

Bloomberg has obtained documents which show that the employee refused to attend the company's quarterly performance improvement plan because he believed that it was a ploy to force him out.

He was ultimately fired from his executive role on 3 October. Several weeks prior to this, on 28 August, he had filed a 17 page report to the company's compliance department, claiming that the South Africa division of the British-based business was a "white island", which hampered its black employees' chances of being appointed into senior management positions.

According to Bloomberg, just one of the 21 top management positions in the unit is black.

However, documents seen by Bloomberg suggest that the performance review was designed to retain the unnamed employee, rather than push him out the firm.

GlaxoSmithKline South Africa said his unapproved absence from the review amounted to gross insubordination.

An internal investigation is ongoing.