May 28, 2020

Mental health charity unfairly dismisses worker

An employment tribunal found that Mind Monmouthshire, a local branch of the national mental health charity, Mind, was found to have unfairly dismissed and victimised an employee after they reported colleagues for making fun of a physically disabled person.

After making a public interest disclosure, Miss Robinson, who had worked at Mind Monmouthshire, the independent mental health charity, for almost 2 years (Feb 16 – Dec 17), where she claimed to have witnessed a colleague performing an offensive impression of a disabled person.

In addition, the ruling stated that Mind Monmouthshire, failed to make reasonable adjustment for Miss Robinson after the increased pressure and victimisation she felt at work, began to affect her mental health.

The tribunal said that the environment Miss Robinson faced was full of “frequent bad language and banter which overstepped the boundaries of acceptability in terms of equality and diversity”.

After witnessing a manager of Mind Monmouthshire and other staff members mocking and mimicking people with disabilities, she contacted her line manager to make them aware of what she had witnessed.

Miss Robinsons manager invited her and the manager concerned, where it was accepted that Miss Robinsons story was true, but that it was just harmless banter. Miss Robinson’s line manager asked if she wanted to make a written complaitn however Miss Robinson declined.

The tribunal concluded that “it was more likely than not” that the staff in the office found out about the complaint, and decided to isolate Miss Robinson from the rest of the office.

In March 2017, Miss Robinson began to develop sever mental issues which included suicidal thoughts. On 27th June she went to see occupational health (OH) who diagnosed here with anxiety and depression, in addition to history of post-traumatic stress. Miss Robinson had told OH that she felt ostracised because of her complaint in 2016.

It was the recommendation of occupational health that Miss Robinson not go back to the same work location and that it should an alternative location should be considered as well as possible new role.

On 18th July, Miss Robinson and her line manager had a capability meeting where the recent issues around isolation, anxiety and wellbeing were discussed and Miss Robinson’s line manager recommended that she raised a formal grievance to try to ensure the management dealt with it effectively, which she did on 28th July. Almost a month later, on 22nd August, the grievance hearing took place however the tribunal found that it did not address in anyway the concerns Miss Robinson had about they way she was being treated and the way she felt.

An appeal was lodged by Miss Robinson on 29th September, with the appeal investigation being conducted by Mind Newport CEO, David Bland, who found no evidence of bullying or harassment and dismissed the appeal.

Miss Robinson resigned on 1st December 2017 and lodged claims of unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing on 12th March 2018.

The tribunal ruled unanimously that Miss Robinson was unfairly dismissed for making a public interest disclosure and that she had been the victim of both harassment and bullying and that Mind Monmouthshire failed to make reasonable adjustments.

top
HR Heroes