Employment tribunal success for NHS workers

Employment tribunal success for NHS workers

PM Law wins £80,000 in damages for clients

Three NHS switchboard operators have won £80,000 in damages from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. The judge ruled that they had been discriminated against and victimised by their employer and awarded aggravated damages for injury to feelings. The three were forced to act when the Trust failed to take any action against a colleague who had bullied and intimidated them.

The result is the final decision in a process that has taken over four years.

Employer failed to discipline a bullying colleague

The claimants, Deborah Dearing, Yasmin Javed and Steve Panton, first took their case to the Employment Tribunal in 2014 when their employer failed to discipline a colleague who had bullied and intimidated them. The case was partially successful, with a win for the claimants on points of sexual harassment and race discrimination, though their employer appealed the decision.

The real problems started when the three returned to work. Fiona Almazedi, the solicitor who represented them on behalf of Sheffield law firm PM Law, explains.

“As part of the initial proceedings they had given evidence against their managers. These managers subsequently refused to work with them or let them return to their previous jobs. This was devastating for our clients, as all they wanted was to return to normal after a very difficult and stressful time. There was another blow when they discovered that the colleague who had bullied them had not been dismissed, as they had been led to believe, and had not faced any disciplinary action. They felt they had no choice but to bring another claim against their employer in 2015, for victimisation.”

NHS appeal led to more stress for claimants

When the three won their case, the NHS Trust again appealed the decision, causing yet more delay and stress.

Deborah Dearing says that she was shocked when she was told that she wouldn’t be returning to her old job.

“I felt rejected, and as if I was being punished. It was very dehumanising to find that we could just be erased from our old jobs because the managers resented what we had done. I had hoped to come off antidepressants when I went back to work, but the anxiety this caused meant I had to increase my medication. When I saw the statements produced by the managers I was shocked and disappointed at how personal they were – I thought there would be some protection against this kind of behaviour.”

The final victory for the claimants came when the Employment Tribunal heard the appeals in late 2018. Laura Thorpe, who heads the Dispute Resolution team at PM Law, says:

“The judge commented that the NHS Trust had made no effort to apologise to our clients, or to sit down and talk through the situation with them. The aggravated damages are an indication of just how badly the NHS Trust behaved towards these employees. Life was made very difficult for them once they had made their claim, but they persevered and we are delighted that they have now been vindicated.”

PM Law can help

PM Law has many years of experience in handling employment claims and we have successfully helped many clients win their case. We are happy to talk to you to discuss your situation and we work on a No Win, No fee basis so there is no upfront cost.

Contact the team on 0114 220 1795 or email disresenquiry@pm-law.co.uk.

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