A former care home manager at Trentside Manor Care has been awarded more than £100,000 in damages following a dismissal after requesting a reduction in her working hours.
M Raphael had worked at the Stoke on Trent care home since 2011 and suffered a stroke in 2015, which left her with reduced energy levels. She also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and a chronic heart condition.
In May 2018, she asked her boss, Pargan Dhadda, to reduce her hours to four days a week to avoid going off sick, which was granted on a trial basis. The care home claimed that Raphael would have to leave the job as it was “physically demanding” and she was “struggling to cope”. They also claimed that Raphael had been guilty of “gross misconduct” and dismissed her after a disciplinary hearing, which was conducted by Dhadda’s nephew.
An employment appeal tribunal heard that Raphael’s mental health “significantly deteriorated” after she was dismissed and that she had to work a temporary job to secure income.
During the tribunal, Raphael stated that the misconduct charges were a pretext for dismissing her and that the true reasons related to her earlier flexible working request which, in turn, related to disability. She claimed that she had been unfairly dismissed as a result of direct disability and age discrimination, and disability-related discrimination.
Employment judge Liz Ord said: “After Raphael’s dismissal, her confidence was shattered. She had dedicated over 20 years to the care sector and loved the work and the people she cared for. Raphael had inadequate opportunity to consider the case against her and to defend herself. Dhadda immediately proceeded, as quickly as possible, to put in motion basic disciplinary steps, simply to attempt to satisfy compulsory procedural requirements. He had no real interest in finding out whether the claimant had actually committed any misconduct.”
Raphael was awarded £100,840 in damages.
Trentside Manor Care has been contacted for comment prior to publication.