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Employee accused of lying about cancer diagnosis awarded £15,000

An employment tribunal has held that an employee who was disabled (she had breast cancer and depression) was discriminated against by her employer when grievance and disciplinary hearings were held with undue haste, and that she was harassed by the suggestion of a manager that she was lying about her cancer diagnosis.

The employee submitted a grievance relating to a number of incidents. Her employer then conducted a speedy investigation into allegations of misconduct and the grievance procedure and subsequently dismissed her as a result of the disciplinary action. The grievance outcome suggested she did not have cancer and that her double mastectomy was elective.

The ruled in her favour in respect of her claims for unfair dismissal, failure to make reasonable adjustments, indirect discrimination, and disability-related harassment. Holding the disciplinary hearing and grievance hearing at short notice put the employee, who suffered from depression, at a substantial disadvantage, and that she should have been allowed extra time to prepare for them. The Employment Tribunal also held that the contents of the grievance letter had the purpose or effect of harassing her.

The was awarded loss of earnings and pension but also £15,000 for injury to feelings on the basis that the grievance outcome letter added insult to injury and was deliberate conduct on the investigators part.

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