An employment tribunal has held that a director’s comment to an employee with depression that “everyone gets depressed sometimes, you just have to pull yourself together” was discrimination arising from disability.
Ms Wickers, an optical assistant at Specsavers, received some formal and informal warnings for failure to comply with the employer’s absence notification procedure, lateness and a dispensing error.
She became tearful during her appraisal with a director and he advised that she should see her GP.
Ms Wickers later told the director that she was struggling with depression and he responded by saying that he had no sympathy for “this kind of thing”. The director went on to say that “everyone gets depressed sometimes, you just have to pull yourself together”.
Following a number of periods of absence and another dispensing error, Ms Wickers was again late for work and the director decided to go “straight to disciplinary action”. Ms Wickers resigned after being told that she was likely to be dismissed.