Father of two Gary Hall was made redundant within minutes of returning to work after medical leave.
A Stevenage man who was made redundant after battling cancer for years has been compensated after it was found he had been a victim of disability discrimination when he was dismissed from his job.
53-year-old Gary Hall, a father of two from Stevenage, had been working for NextGenAccess Ltd in Hatfield - initially as a contractor and later as an employee - since 2017.
Mr Hall was diagnosed with bowel cancer in the spring of 2018 and was required to take time off work for three different surgeries over a two-year period.
Prior to his third surgery in November 2019, Mr Hall was called in for a meeting with the managing director of NextGenAccess Ltd – which he now believes was a fishing expedition – as just two months later, when he returned to work following the surgery, he received a redundancy notice.
Mr Hall said: “The meeting before my third operation was very strange – lots of questions were asked about my health which I found odd as they had never really taken much interest before.
“When I came home from hospital, I opened up my work emails and, whereas I had before always been kept in the loop, there was nothing from my employer. I said to my wife that something wasn’t right.”
When Mr Hall returned to work the following January after convalescing from the operation, he was served a redundancy notice within 10 minutes of arriving at the office.
Mr Hall added: “I was told there were changes and I was out – yet they’d taken on three other people to do my job. They said they couldn’t afford me any longer too, yet the salaries of the new employees amounted to much more than I was earning.”
Mr Hall turned to his union, Unite, for support. They put him in touch with Thompsons Solicitors who took on the case, which resulted in a pay out of £56,000.
The compensation makes clear that it was unacceptable for my employer to dismiss me when I was fighting cancer and ensures my family haven’t been left in financial peril.
Gary Hall, our employment rights client
Mr Hall said: “My solicitor, Carl, was brilliant. He talked me through everything and explained it all very clearly. I can’t praise him or the barrister enough. The compensation makes clear that it was unacceptable for my employer to dismiss me when I was fighting cancer and ensures my family haven’t been left in financial peril.”
Carl Harrington, a specialist in employment law at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Mr Hall’s case demonstrates that employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments in order to support disabled employees. It also serves as a reminder that a sham redundancy has serious consequences and that employers cannot ride rough shod over employee rights.”
Peter Kavanagh, London and Eastern regional secretary from Unite the Union, added: “NextGenAccess’s treatment of Mr Hall was appalling. To kick a man when he is down is shameful and they have been caught red-handed. I hope it’s a lesson to other employers that they cannot treat their people in such a cold and callous way.”
As a trade union member, Mr Hall kept 100 per cent of his compensation.