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Paul Gilroy QC successful on behalf of senior banker in claim of discrimination arising from disability

21.02.22

The London Central Employment Tribunal has upheld claims of discrimination arising from disability by a senior risk and compliance professional, Adeline Willis, against her former employers, NatWest Bank.

The Claimant was dismissed on the purported grounds of redundancy whilst she was on secondment. She had been the subject of positive performance assessments throughout the course of her employment with the bank.

She was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Throughout the course of her secondment the Claimant had sought extensions thereof and/or a reversion to permanent employee status. It was her case that she was encouraged to believe that one of those objectives would be met.

The Tribunal was provided with evidence that within the week following the Claimant’s line manager’s discovery of her diagnosis, at a time when it was now apparent from her treatment plan that the Claimant was to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy every day followed by surgery, a conference call was conducted between the Claimant’s line manager (and a more senior manager) and HR.  The Tribunal found that the managers concerned were taking advice about terminating the Claimant’s secondment early. In the circumstances, the Tribunal found that there was direct evidence that the managers concerned were seeking to take action against the Claimant because she was due to take time off for cancer treatment, clearly a matter arising from her disability.

The Tribunal found that the Claimant was unfairly dismissed, and upheld a range of claims of unfavourable treatment (including the claim that dismissal itself was unfavourable treatment) contrary to s.15 of the Equality Act 2010.

The Tribunal has now listed the matter for a remedy hearing.

Paul Gilroy QC, instructed by Will Clayton of Constantine Law, appeared on behalf of the Claimant.

Link to Judgment

Links to press coverage:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/feb/17/natwest-facing-2m-discrimination-and-unfair-dismissal-claim

https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/a-willis-v-natwest-group-tribunal-cancer-discrimination/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/02/17/natwest-faces-2m-reparations-unfair-dismissal-employee-cancer/

https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-10524735/NatWest-faces-2m-payout-firing-banker-just-two-days-operation-colon-cancer.html

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/natwest-executive-who-was-sacked-after-cancer-surgery-to-get-2m-xx90fjr7p

https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/successful-natwest-director-dismissed-after-cancer-diagnosis-tribunal-hears-20211119

https://www.mailplus.co.uk/edition/news/home-affairs/155809/adeline-willis-natwest-faces-payout-sacking-banker-cancer-surgery

 

 

 

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