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NHS worker subjected to ‘stressful’ practical joke by manager was unfairly dismissed, tribunal finds

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

Judge rules there was ‘no possible justification’ for boss’s actions after claimant was tricked into thinking she had to give a presentation the following day as reported in People Management. The Croydon employment tribunal heard that at 11.25am on 3 August 2017, Hurley received an email from her manager to “remind” her of a three-hour presentation she had to deliver to the senior management team the following day, faking an additional email purportedly sent from a general manager to corroborate the story and convincing her “she must have forgotten”. Other people in the office were in on the joke.

Employment judge Fowell emphasised that “it was coming up to the financial month end, a very busy period” and that Hurley was “stressed”, having been covering two roles for six months after a colleague left the organisation. She has previously been signed off work with stress on 30 March of the same year, returning in June, and was also responsible for training a new member of staff.

Hurley was awarded £9,890.60 for previous and future loss of earnings, taking into account the fact that she had started another job right away, albeit with a lower salary and with higher commuting costs.

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