NHS Trust Ordered to pay £200,000
NHS Trust Ordered to pay £200,000 in compensation for Age Discrimination
Last year the Employment Tribunal in Reading heard the case of Jolly v Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust which related to a claim for unfair dismissal and age discrimination. In October 2019, the Tribunal awarded the Claimant £200,000 in compensation.
Mrs Eileen Jolly was employed as a secretary since 1991 before she was dismissed from the Royal Berkshire Hospital after claims that she did not use the computer system properly. She had failed to upload details of cancer patients awaiting non-urgent breast reconstruction surgery into a new database which led to some patients waiting over a year for their appointment. Mrs Jolly claimed that she had not been properly trained to use the new system which ultimately led to mistakes being made.
Mrs Jolly told the Tribunal that an internal report written by her manager included derogatory comments about her age and health. Her colleagues had also openly joked that they would “come in [to work] and find her dead on the floor”.
Mrs Jolly, who suffered with a heart condition, told the Tribunal that she had never taken a day off sick in 10 years even after suffering cardiac arrest at work in 2004 and had to be resuscitated by a doctor. She told the Tribunal that her intention was to continue in employment until she was 90. Her direct manager said Mrs Jolly was a “reliable and meticulous” and stated that she had been made a “scapegoat” for the management failings.
Judge Andrew Gumbiti-Zumuto agreed that Mrs Jolly's dismissal had been unfair and it was "tainted by discrimination". He found that her grievances had not been properly addressed and she had been treated differently to other members of staff.
The Tribunal Judge, in the Remedy Hearing held last month, ordered that the NHS Trust paid Mrs Jolly £200,000 (£129,375 net of tax) within 14 days.
We are increasingly seeing that workers are choosing to work beyond the ordinary retirement age and this case highlights the potential risks involved when an employer makes assumptions about an employee based on their age.
If you have any queries in relation to any discrimination issue, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Employment Team.