The claimant, who was employed by Rose Medical Ltd between April 2017 and her dismissal in September 2018 and was 63 at the time, was “mocked at work” by younger staff members for “both hearing and memory related reasons”, a Liverpool employment tribunal has said.
This led to an environment at work that was “hostile to the claimant”, it added.
Sue Walsh, was awarded more than £15,000 by the tribunal – which included £13,000 for “injury to feelings…for acts of age and disability discrimination” – in a ruling last this month (August 7).
She was also awarded £245.99 for “one week’s loss of pay” and two weeks’ pay for “failure to provide written particulars of employment”, which came to £470. Additionally, Ms Walsh was awarded interest on two of the payments, bringing the total to £15,649.13.
The tribunal ruled that she was “dismissed for absence that arose out of her disability”, after she lost her job following two days’ sickness absence.
The sickness absence was due to a “flare up” of osteoarthritis – a condition the employment tribunal found the pharmacy was aware she had.
In response to the ruling, Rose Medical Ltd told C+D: "We pride ourselves on being an open and equal opportunities family-owned community pharmacy.
"We are obviously disappointed and do not agree with the tribunal’s findings. However, during the process, we and our HR consultant have learned valuable lessons, which we will use to review our internal processes."
For advice on employment tribunals and how to avoid them, see an example in this C+D HR dilemma.
The tribunal also found that Ms Walsh had “suffered detriments because of her complaints about age discrimination” and that Rose Medical Ltd “had not provided the claimant with particulars of terms and conditions of employment which complied with Section 1 Employment Rights Act 1996”.
Ms Walsh was “was mocked at work from the outset of her employment” by colleagues at St Chads Pharmacy in Oldham, Greater Manchester in a way that related to her age, the tribunal heard.
Instances included team members, all of whom were younger than Ms Walsh, repeatedly calling out her name if she missed something they said “until she had heard or was made aware by a customer, by which time the calling out had become louder and hostile", the tribunal heard.
She was also “mocked for sometimes not being able to remember things and having to ask a colleague”, the employment tribunal was told.
Rose Medical Ltd “denied that [Ms Walsh] had been discriminated against by reason of age or disability”, according to the tribunal, but accepted that her osteoarthritis meant she was disabled.
Rose Medical Ltd said she was “dismissed for unsatisfactory performance which related to her manner and attitude to work generally”.
However, the tribunal said it did “not accept that there were serious concerns about the claimant’s performance prior to her dismissal” as it would not be “credible to suggest” that she would not, in that case, have been dismissed earlier in her employment.
It found that Ms Walsh’s “claim for disability discrimination under Section 15 [of the] Equality Act 2010 is well founded and succeeds”.