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 tribunal victory for beauty therapist struggling with childcare arrangements

The woman took her former employees to an employment tribunal over unfair dismissal and sex discrimination

A former employee at a fitness centre in Carlise, who took her old firm to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal following changes made to flexible working hours, has won her case and been awarded over £18,000.

The employment tribunal ruled that Emma Holt, who was a beauty therapist at the Bannatyne Fitness Centre in Carlisle, was unfairly dismissed and suffered sex discrimination, after she was made redundant over a disagreement about childcare arrangements.

The woman took her former employees to an employment tribunal over unfair dismissal and sex discrimination

Employment tribunal victory for beauty therapist struggling with childcare arrangements © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Emma had worked at the centre for nearly 10 years and had a flexible working arrangement with her employers. She worked Monday to Friday for childcare reasons and would only work on a weekend if it was to cover for a sick colleague, or for other special circumstances, as she struggled to arrange childcare for her son.

At the start of 2016, Emma was told by senior managers that she had to work weekends but she refused. She did however look into paid childcare options but none were available in her area for weekend care.

The employment tribunal heard that Emma made a formal complaint but no meaningful investigation was carried out by senior managers and she was eventually made redundant.

“Enforcing a change to my work pattern is breaching my flexible work agreement. I do feel this is unfair on the grounds that I have worked continually for the company and with very little absence over the 10 years, for either myself or my child,” Emma told her former employer.

Holt won her tribunal case on the grounds she was unfairly dismissed and suffered sex discrimination but her claim that she was victimised by her former employers was refused.

Holt was awarded £18,399 in total – £10,399 for unfair dismissal and £8,000 for injury to feelings.

Her former employer admitted unfair dismissal but refused to accept the sex discrimination charges.

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Cancer patient takes former employers to employment tribunal

Being sacked from his job led cancer patient to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal


Research carried out by the UK charity Macmillan has found that nearly one-fifth (18%) of those with a diagnosis of cancer face discrimination from their employers and colleagues when they go back to work.

A total of 1,009 cancer patients took part in the survey and all of them were in work when diagnosed. 15% said they went back to work before they really felt able to do so and some said they suffered from guilt for having time off work to attend appointments.

UK charity Macmillan has found that nearly one-fifth (18%) of those with a diagnosis of cancer face discrimination from their employers

Macmillan cancer support charity shop © Copyright Brian Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The charity Macmillan, who provide support for those suffering from cancer, warned employers how important it is that they offer better support to their workers dealing with cancer and the right training and skills should be in place within the company.

The survey found that 14% of people diagnosed with cancer either give up work, or are made redundant.

Terry Foster, aged 58, from Southport, said that he was “treated appallingly” by his former employer. In 2010, Mr Foster was diagnosed with lymphoma and told he hadn’t long to live but he defied the odds and started to recover, so planned to go back to his job as a refrigeration engineer.

However, when he turned up at work to meet his manager, he was told he was being sacked because of the cancer as he wouldn’t be able to cope with job stress, even though the stress of losing his job meant he had to worry about telling his wife, supporting a young family and having to pay a mortgage.

Mr Foster received a letter of confirmation from his former employers with a full explanation for his dismissal.

He took the firm to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal, won and was awarded over £62,000.

Ms Egan, who heads the Working Through Cancer programme at Macmillan Cancer Support, said that many people suffering with cancer “are not aware they have rights under the Equalities Act.”

She also said that many patients wrongfully don’t tell their employers they are suffering from cancer.

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Number of employment tribunal cases fall by 73%

Slump blamed on introduction of employment tribunal fees of up to £1,200

A new study has revealed that the number of employees taking claims out for discrimination or unfair dismissal to employment tribunals, has fallen by 73% since the introduction of charges were put in place.

According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), there’s been a massive reduction in cases of discrimination; on grounds of sex (71%), race (58%) and disability (54%), since the introduction of charges of up to £1,200.

In 2012-13, the number of employees taking claims to an employment tribunal was around 16,000 per month, falling drastically to just 7,000 over the past year.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “These figures show a huge drop in workers seeking justice when they’ve been unfairly treated. Now bosses know they can get away with it, discrimination at work can flourish unchecked and people can be sacked without good reason.”

Ms O’Grady added that the evidence was in front of all of us. Fees of up to £1,200, for all workers, not matter what they earn, meant that many employees were being priced out of taking their case to a tribunal.

She said that employment tribunal fees should be abolished, so that workers treated unfairly by their employers can take them to court.

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Man, 75, wins employment tribunal case following unfair dismissal

Judge awards 75-year-old man £6,800 following age discrimination employment tribunal case

A 75-year-old man who was dismissed from his gift shop job in Wanstead because of his age and told by his former boss to “go and find a job at B&Q”, has won his employment tribunal case.

Brian Smith, of Leytonstone, had been working at the Bennetts of London gift shop in Wanstead High Street, London, for 10 years when his former manager and owner of the gift shop, Veronica Bennett, started treating him unfairly.

The issues began following a summer refurbishment in 2015 when the shop was closed for a period of time. Ms Bennett failed to notify Mr Smith when the shop reopened and she did not include him on any of the shop’s rotas.

Man, aged 75, wins his employment tribunal following age discrimination dismissal

Mr Smith was dismissed from Bennetts of London in Wanstead High Street

The situation worsened when Ms Bennett cut Mr Smith’s working hours before finally making him redundant in March 2016, when she apparently made “offensive and personal” comments, including telling Mr Smith to look for work at B&Q.

The case went before an employment tribunal on October 7 when it was ruled that Veronica Bennett had unfairly dismissed Mr Smith due to age discrimination.

Judge Brown, a specialist employment law judge, told Ms Bennett that her actions had been “wounding and humiliating” and had led Mr Smith to feeling unwell and seeking advice from the Citizens’ Advice Bureau.

Ms Bennett was also judged to have breached her employment contract with Mr Smith because she had failed to pay him or offer him any working hours in accordance with his contract between September 2015 and March 2016.

Judge Brown ordered Veronica Bennett to pay a total of £6,822.23 to Mr Smith for unfair dismissal.

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Former Terrence Higgins Trust chief executive was unfairly dismissed

Employment tribunal unanimously found that Rosemary Gillespie had been dismissed because of disclosures she made about former deputy chair

At an employment tribunal held last month, it was ruled that Rosemary Gillespie, former chief executive of the HIV/Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust, was dismissed by the board primarily because she made disclosures about the behaviour of Paul Jenkins, the former deputy chair of the charity.

The tribunal concluded that Mrs Gillespie was unfairly dismissed because she had tried to inform on the improper behaviour of a trustee at the charity, as well as other issues. The reason for her dismissal was deemed unsatisfactory and was not acceptable.

She was asked to leave her position in July 2015 but at a hearing in March, in London, Mrs Gillespie claimed she had been unfairly dismissed.

At the tribunal, it was unanimously found that Mrs Gillespie had been dismissed by the board of trustees mainly because she had exposed the behaviour of Paul Jenkins, whom she said had got drunk and attempted to kiss and place his “hand on the crotch” of a senior member of staff, after a charity fundraising auction.

Gillespie claimed that the inappropriate actions of Mr Jenkins had raised safeguarding concerns.

The former chief executive also raised concerns regarding the length of time taken and the cost of an investigation over allegations of misconduct against two senior managers, following their suspension.

It was discovered that Gillespie’s dismissal came three months after getting a ‘glowing’ e-mail from the chair of the charity, Robert Glick – he said that he wanted to: “underscore what a tremendous pleasure it has been and I know will continue to be, to work with you”.

Mr Glick went on to say how the pair of them were on the way to developing an outstanding partnership and: “I couldn’t be more excited about working with you at the helm, as we take the leap into the next stage of this great charity’s work”.

At the tribunal however, Mr Glick claimed that at the time of sending the e-mail, he had serious doubts about Gillespie’s performance and that the e-mail was sent to help boost her confidence. The claim was rejected by the three-man panel.

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