UNISON wins Constructive Dismissal Case22 January 2009
UNISON wins more than £30,000 compensation for member
UNISON, the UK’s largest public sector trade union, has won more than £30,000 compensation for a member forced to resign from her job after suffering months of harassment by a colleague. She will receive just £4,000 as the company has since gone into liquidation.
Over her eleven year career with the company, Jeanette Brown from Workington in Cumbria, worked her way up to become joint manager of Windmill House, a care home for adults with special needs. She was forced to resign after her colleague, the trust accountant, began an eight-month campaign of threats and allegations, during which Janette saw her duties reduced. She was accused of amending her contract to achieve favourable terms and was threatened with being sacked for an issue she had originally highlighted.
Even her ex directory phone number was handed out to staff as an emergency contact without her permission. Almost £300 was docked from her wages after she was accused of taking an extra day’s holiday and for claiming double time for working bank holidays - even though both were allowable under her contract. The campaign continued when Jeanette was signed off from work with stress and she was eventually forced to resign.
Jeanette, who now runs her own cleaning business, said: “I feel extremely let down by the Windmill Trust for allowing me to be treated the way I was after many years of loyal service. I was robbed of a career I loved and I have lost all trust in working for an employer.
“I have since set up my own business because I felt so harassed by what happened to me at the Windmill Trust that I could not face becoming an employee for anyone again.”
Frank Hont, UNISON North West Regional Secretary, said: “We are only too pleased to have supported Mrs Brown in her claim for constructive dismissal. Unfortunately the company has now gone into liquidation meaning she will be unable to recover the full damages from them. However we hope this result will bring peace of mind and justice for Jeanette.”
Emily Greenshields from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Constructive dismissal cases are particularly difficult to win. However this case highlights the fact that an employee cannot be expected to tolerate working for an employer who acts in clear breach of their contract of employment.
“The Tribunal held that the employer’s conduct was calculated or likely to destroy the employment relationship and this entitled Mrs Brown to resign and claim constructive dismissal.”