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Security manager with kidney cancer told not ‘to be a baby’

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In the case of Mr S Pointon v Alpha Omega Securities Steve Pointon, who was 36 when he was first diagnosed with kidney cancer, is now in line for compensation after being told to ‘grow up’ and asked why he thought he deserved to have ‘every weekend off’.

Pointon worked at Alpha Omega Securities in Crewe for around 50 hours per week on a salary of £35,000 a year. Company director Ken Lawton, who was initially supportive of Pointon’s illness, then showed “a lack of emotional intelligence”, according to the tribunal judge, after complaining about how hard he had to work while Pointon was on sick leave.

Pointon had surgery in September 2016 and was off for six weeks before being given the all clear a year later. He went back to working full time although he had significant side effects. But in January 2018 Mr Pointon he was told his cancer had returned and the ‘prognosis was poor’.

A few weeks later he declined to attend a work dinner, stating time with his family was now even more ‘precious’. But in response, Mr Lawton told him off for ‘daring to challenge’ his ‘generosity’.

The judge ruled that “various acts of discrimination contributed to constructive dismissal”, and a remedy hearing will be scheduled in due course to decide compensation.

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