Case Studies

Case Studies

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Poor performance by an employer in addressing concerns about an employee’s work

Published 30 June 2021

There can be few things worse than battling to overcome difficult odds to do the best job that you can, only to be fired for not doing it well enough 


Nursery worker Robyn had suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) for a number of years,  but the impact of it was not fairly considered when she was dismissed.  


PTSD can be considered a disability under the Equality Act 2010. 


Robyn’s problems started following her return to work after a two-month period of sick leave, which was for work-related stress. 


Upon Robyn’s return to work management at the privately run nursery placed her   on performance management 


The nursery said it did have concerns about Robyn’s performance prior to her going off sick. It insisted performance management was a supportive measure. 


The whole performance management process, which led to Robyn’s dismissal lasted just one month. 


Distraught Robyn had raised concerns throughout about how she was being treated.  


Robyn believed she had not received any meaningful support during her employment and the impact of PTSD on her performance was not fairly considered. 


The nursery insisted it had acted reasonably, followed company policies, legal advice had been sought and everything was fair. 


Robyn was not placated by the response and submitted a formal grievance. The grounds for grievance were disability discrimination and unfair treatment. 


The grievance was heard and rejected by the nursery manager. Robyn did not appeal the outcome. 


The same nursery manager was also in charge of the performance management process. 


Robyn was invited to a final performance management meeting two days later and dismissed. She felt that it was an unfair dismissal. 


Devastated Robyn lodged an appeal against the decision. 


Robyn had understandably lost all trust, confidence and faith in the nursey at this stage.  


She was desperate to correct the injustice she had suffered. Robyn feared the impact the dismissal would have on her career prospects. 


Worried Robyn contacted the Castle Associates Employee Support Centre for help with her appeal. 


Our representative supported Robyn with her appeal. Prior to the appeal hearing he requested a list of information from the nursery, which he believed would help her case. 


Using the requested information our representative argued that Robyn had been subjected to disability discrimination and dismissed unfairly.  


The health declaration Robyn filled in when she started work was among the information requested by our representative.  


It was used to point out the nursery was fully aware from the outset of her employment Robyn had PTSD, but had failed to seek medical advice about what it meant, the impact of it or understand how as an employer it could support Robyn. 


Our representative also used Robyn’s return to work interview notes after her long-term sick leave to highlight the nursery was aware she had struggled, and was struggling, with her mental health.  


He added that despite this it still did not seek any medical advice or make a referral to occupational health to gain a better understanding of Robyn’s condition. 


Our representative told the appeal hearing evidence of the nursery’s knowledge of Robyn’s poor mental health meant the failure to provide any meaningful support or reasonable adjustments, and fairly consider the impact of PTSD on her performance was inexcusable and discriminatory. 


The performance management policy was requested ahead of the appeal. Our representative used it along with notes and evidence of performance management meetings with Robyn to show that it had not been adhered to. 


The conflict of interests in the grievance being dealt with by the nursery manager was referred to in order to argue that Robyn’s concerns were never properly or fairly considered. 


As Robyn wanted to draw a line under the matter and move on, our representative initiated a conversation about a settlement agreement. 


An agreement was later reached. It meant the dismissal would be removed from Robyn’s record and she would be provided with a reference.  


She was also paid a tax-free lump sum, her notice period and for her outstanding holiday leave. 


The whole experience had a damaging impact on Robyn, but she did eventually secure another job with a local nursery. 


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For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call.  

Tel: 0333 772 0611 

A reputation built on success

For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 


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