In Royal Bank of Scotland plc v AB a bank worker has been successful in bringing a disability discrimination claim by being awarded more than £4.7 million after being made to feel “worthless” and “unsupported” by her colleagues and subjected to bullying throughout her 6 year career with the bank.
The employee, known as AB, was run over by a car on her first day at work suffering permanent nerve damage and left with a limp. She worked in several high street branches of Natwest, part of the Royal Bank of Scotland and was subjected to bullying which included being shouted at and being called ‘stupid’ at work. This bullying behaviour led to AB being diagnosed with severe depression and psychosis. She had made more than 60 allegations of harassment and disability discrimination in the workplace.
The tribunal also found that Natwest made AB work on the till despite her disability, failed to provide her with occupational therapy and did not adjust her workstation according to needs. Natwest were also found to have coerced AB into agreeing to a demotion after which, AB said she was also denied a transfer to a new branch due to staff believing her disabilities would limit her ability to perform the job, leading her to feel humiliated.
AB resigned citing she had suffered a serious psychiatric injury and was successful in bringing a constructive dismissal claim.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal were satisfied that whilst she had historic trauma from childhood, the psychiatric evidence presented during the tribunal addressed and resolved the dispute as to whether AB had exaggerated her symptoms.
This case is a reminder of the importance of being aware of the law surrounding disability in the workplace; and the requirement to make reasonable adjustments and what constitutes bullying and harassment in the workplace. It also shows the importance of using occupational health guidance and the importance of medical reports when understanding the extent of somebody’s medical condition.
It is also important to note the context in this case. AB sustained ongoing discrimination over many years, which led to a significant and very serious psychiatric impact. These factors were considered by the tribunal when determining a fair compensation award and resulted in AB receiving one of the highest discrimination awards made.
Full details of the case can be read at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5e5cee9086650c53a09af60a/Royal_Bank_of_Scotland_PLC_v_AB_UKEAT_0266_18_DA.pdf
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