The case was settled for £ 40,000
Last updated 1 hour ago
A cancer survivor from County Armagh settled an alleged disability discrimination case with her former employer, The Yellow Door in Portadown, for £ 40,000.
A mother of two, Siobhan Jacobs, who was responsible for the events, was an employee of the company for over 16 years.
However, after two cancer diagnoses and treatments, she returned to part-time work in February 2019.
After returning to the workplace, no wellness meeting was held.
She said she found herself without access to basic equipment, including a cell phone, and her desk and computer had been reassigned.
She had to do a “hot desk”, which was only possible when colleagues were not at their desks.
Siobhan said this prevented her from doing her job properly and found that she could no longer handle long 10-12 hour shifts as they caused pain and fatigue.
She spoke to her employer about this and gave him a letter from her consultant advising her not to work shifts longer than six hours and to perform light duties whenever possible.
Despite the assurances, her employer did not meet with her to talk to her about her difficulties or the advice of her consultant.
She was informed by her employer that long shifts were part of her contract and that she had to fulfill them.
After refusing to work such a shift at an event, Siobhan was invited to attend an investigative meeting under disciplinary policy.
With the help of Macmillan Cancer Support, she wrote to her employer asking for reasonable adjustments to help her do her job.
However, the day after receiving this letter, his employer sent Siobhan a letter inviting him to a disciplinary hearing for serious misconduct.
Siobhan then filed a grievance with his employer and his lawyer also wrote to his employer to express his concerns about his treatment.
After the grievance process was completed, with only some of her grievances partially upheld, Siobhan felt she had no choice but to resign.
She then contacted the NI Equality Commission which supported her case which was partially heard in the Tribunal in August 2021 before being settled.
The company affirms its commitment to equal opportunities
In settling the case, Yellow Door affirmed its commitment to the principle of equal employment opportunity and pledged to liaise with the Equality Commission to review its policies, practices and procedures. of equal opportunity.
The company also confirmed that it will provide equality training to all managers and employees regarding their obligations and responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
Simon Dougan, Managing Director of Yellow Door (Portadown) said: “Siobhan Jacobs has been a great asset to the Yellow Door team for many years and is well respected by all staff.
“We sincerely regret the unintentional procedural loopholes that this case has exposed and the upheaval and distress caused to Siobhan as a result.
“We are working with the Equality Commission to review our policies and procedures and we are fully committed to upholding our obligations and responsibilities in accordance with all aspects of labor law. ”
Siobhan said she was delighted the matter was settled.
She added: “After four stressful days at the Tribunal, I am delighted that my case has been resolved.
“I have two young children to care for and all I wanted was to take over a job that I had been doing for so long, I had really enjoyed my job.
“I have been a dedicated and hardworking employee throughout my time at Yellow Door and thought they would fully help me get back to work after my cancer treatment.
“I still find it hard to believe that after 16 years of dedicated service it ended like this.”
Geraldine McGahey, Chief Commissioner of the NI Equality Commission, said: “Siobhan had faced a life-changing illness and despite the challenges she wanted to work and make a positive contribution to her workplace. .
“Many people like Siobhan face health problems and acquire a disability in the course of their working life and the Disability Discrimination Act protects them.
“Employers should have relevant policies and procedures in place to enable them to appropriately deal with employee requests for reasonable adjustments.
“It is important that they make sure that these policies are used when they are needed. Employers should also ensure that all staff and managers understand their rights and responsibilities.
“By supporting employees like Siobhan, employers can empower people to continue working and live fully while living with a disability.”
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