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Bank worker wins £22,000 compensation for unfair dismissal after being called by boss while off sick and told to remove cake pictures posted on FaceBook

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Ms V Lindsay v Halifax Bank of Scotland (HBOS) a bank worker has been awarded £22,000 after her boss rang her while she was off sick to ask her not to post pictures of cakes on Facebook.

Victoria Lindsay, who has PTSD, was signed off with severe anxiety but continued to experience distress due to regular check-up calls from the manager, a tribunal heard.

The HBOS manager – named only as Ms Jallow in the tribunal’s ruling, unreasonably questioned themortgage adviser’s medication and without any justification insisted she ask her doctor for a review of it.

When Victoria, who had a cake-making business, took a family holiday, just a day into the trip Jallow then called her to tell her to “be mindful” about posting pictures of cakes she baked on Facebook – but Victoria said it was a hobby which was “therapeutic”.

The call on December 17 last year caused Victoria such distress she suffered a 30-minute panic attack in front of her kids and resigned.

Judge Amanda Jones, sitting at Glasgow employment tribunal, ruled Jallow had no reason to call on December 17 and it contributed to her already increasingly anxious state. The hearing was told Victoria, who has had PTSD since 2016, suffered a panic attack last year following a significant family issue and went off sick. She was increasingly worried about a return and was “filled with fear”.

The tribunal said: “Colleagues at the Hamilton branch had reacted negatively to a post made by Victoria regarding cakes made by her during her absence from work.

“Ms Jallow told her that senior management had brought to her attention her social media presence regarding the cake-making business.

“Ms Lindsay said that the distress caused to her was horrific. She had permission to engage in her cake-making business, which she operated as a hobby and was therapeutic for dealing with her anxiety.

“There was nothing blameworthy about her conduct.”

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