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Disabled Council Employee Awarded £4.6 Million

An employment tribunal has recently ruled in favour of a disabled council employee, granting her a substantial £4.6 million following her dismissal while on sick leave. The employee, who suffers from ADHD and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), held the role of Director of Public Service Reform at Hammersmith and Fulham Borough Council for less than nine months.

The tribunal found that her disabilities were known to the employer at the time of dismissal. Moreover, it was determined that her dismissal was directly linked to her PTSD, stemming from her involvement in the response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

The tribunal partially upheld the employee’s allegations of harassment, direct discrimination, and discrimination arising from her disability. Additionally, it found that the employer had unreasonably failed to adhere to the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance procedures regarding both the employee’s grievance and her termination.

In addition to the above, the tribunal also concluded that senior officers at the council, including the chief executive, had attempted to deliberately mislead both the employee and the tribunal.

During the remedies hearing in January 2024, the tribunal heard expert evidence that suggested that the employee was unlikely to return to work, with her health decline being directly linked to the council’s actions.

While the written reasons behind the award are pending, it is understood that the £4.6 million includes an amount for exemplary damages. This award is believed to be one of the highest made for disability discrimination.

Despite the ruling, the council is reportedly contemplating an appeal.