Mental health charity in Dundee being taken to employment tribunal

Former employee taking her old firm to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal

A former employee of a mental health charity in Dundee, is taking her old employers to an employment tribunal over claims she was unfairly dismissed.

Christine Costello, aged 53, from Invergowrie, Dundee, worked for her former employers for almost eight years as a mental health advocacy worker. She resigned from the charity, Dundee Independent Advocacy Support (DIAS), last January.

Mental health charity in Dundee being taken to employment tribunal

Former mental health charity worker from Invergowrie, Dundee, takes her old employers to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal © Copyright Jim Bain and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

DIAS are based at Meadow Mill, on West Hendersons Wynd, in Dundee.

Ms Costello’s hearing will be held in Dundee later this month.

According to a spokeswoman at the Dundee Employment Tribunal Service, Ms Costello filed four different claims against her old employers for; unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination and disability discrimination.

Apparently, Ms Costello resigned from her position at the charity in January last year but had numerous periods of time off before leaving, as a result of alleged incidents.

If Ms Costello wins her employment tribunal case against her former employers, she could receive a five-figure sum.

A DIAS spokeswoman said there would be no comments made about the case whilst it was still ongoing.

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Employment Tribunal win and compensation set for sacked Gran


60-year-old Gran sacked by bosses because she had breast cancer set for employment tribunal win

A 60-year-old Gran is set for a £100,000 compensation payout after taking her old bosses to an employment tribunal after she was sacked from her job after 21 years because she had cancer.

Valerie Axon, who has worked for Coral Racing for the past twenty-one years, was sacked by her bosses after informing them she had breast cancer and that she would need some time off for treatment.

Mrs Axon carried on in her role but later on discovered another lump and informed the retail operations manager, Carol Chown-Smith.

60-year-old Gran sacked by Coral bosses after 21 years because she had breast cancer

Mrs Axon worked for Coral for 21 years before being sacked for having cancer © Copyright Paul Gillett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The company then wrongly accused Mrs Axon of drinking whilst at work and was suspended from her retail manager role at Romford Greyhound Stadium, east London, which earned her £35,000 per year.

In November 2015, two months after she was suspended, the grandmother-of-five was sacked.

At the employment tribunal, it was heard that Mrs Axon was actually drinking cordial when she had finished her shift. The company was found guilty of disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Mrs Axon, of Romford, said whilst giving evidence at the tribunal: “I felt that the real reason for my dismissal was because I had breast cancer, which involved me taking sick leave of around six and a half months.”

Two Coral chiefs and Ms Chown-Smith denied the fact that cancer had played a part in Mrs Axon’s dismissal.

Judge John Goodrich ruled that Mrs Axon was not consuming alcohol whilst at work and that Ms Chown-Smith’s main motivation for Mrs Axon’s sacking was down to the fact that her cancer had returned and would need more time off work.

“My family and I have been devastated emotionally and financially by my dismissal and it was an ordeal going to the employment tribunal,” said Mrs Axon.

Valerie added how delighted she was to have received justice and hoped that her case would be an inspiration to other employees faced with the same discrimination in the workplace.

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Employment tribunals make big payouts due to disability discrimination

A number of cases have recently found employers guilty of ‘discrimination arising from disability’

What is disability discrimination?

According to Section 15 of the Equality Act 2010 – it is unlawful for an employer to treat one of their employees in a disparaging way because of something happening as a consequence of their disability, when the employer knows, or should be expected to know about the disability of that employee.

The employer may be able to successfully defend a claim, as long as they can justify the unfavourable treatment, on the grounds that it is a suitable way of gaining a legitimate aim.

Employers have been found guilty of ‘discrimination arising from disability’, under the Equality Act 2010, in a number of recent disability discrimination cases.

According to the Liverpool Echo, an NHS worker was sacked from her position after her secret double life as a porn star was made public. The NHS were ordered to pay compensation to the admin worker.

Three of the most recent cases resulted in large tribunal awards due to discrimination arising from disability.

In the first case, Nally V Freshfield Care Ltd, the employment tribunal awarded a total of £8,514 – £6,760 for injury to feelings and £1,754 for loss of salary. After being dismissed following behaviour which arose from disability, the employment tribunal found that he was discriminated against by his former employer when they dismissed him because of his erratic behaviour, which stemmed from his disability.

The second case, Pnaiser v NHS England and another, compensation was awarded by the employment tribunal, after an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which found against Ms Pnaiser’s former and prospective employers.

The employers were made to pay £6,600 for injury to feelings, £2,000 in aggravated damages and £1,700 for loss of enhanced benefits and tribunal fees by the employment tribunal.

In case number three, Thomas v Twinmar Ltd, the employment tribunal awarded a total of £7,990 for discrimination arising from disability – £4,990 for loss of earnings and £3,000 for injury to feelings. The employer was found to have committed discrimination arising from disability by the employment tribunal, for dismissing an employee from their job after taking time off work for a couple of weeks, after suffering from a number of diabetic seizures.

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