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Hospital worker ordered to pay former employer’s £17,000 legal bill, after years spent pursuing an unfair dismissal claim with “no reasonable prospect of success”

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

In Ms N K Dhillon v Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Narinderjeet Kaur Dhillon has attended several employment tribunal hearings since 2019, claiming she was unfairly dismissed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and the victim of racial and disability discrimination.

One of the first hearings had to be postponed after she failed to show up on the second day and claimed she was ill. In December 2019, she failed to convince an employment judge that she was disabled, because she was recovering from root canal treatment, and had a recurring cyst and a cervical condition. And in March 2022, she then claimed she had been a victim of racial discrimination while at work, but her claim was dismissed as “extremely tenuous”.

At a recent hearing in Leeds, Employment Judge Lancaster said she had pursued an unfair dismissal case for several years, despite “insurmountable evidential difficulties”.

He also said Ms Dhillon has been sent three letters since 2020, warning her there is “no reasonable prospect of success” and she may be asked to cover some costs.

He added: “Given the claimant’s failure to heed those repeated warnings, even though they did not in terms spell out the precise deficiencies in the claim as now brought, and her persistence in bringing a claim which objectively had no reasonable prospect of success, we consider that she ought to pay a proportion of (Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) costs.”

The judge also said Ms Dhillon has “incurred significant costs” and the hearings have cost more than £70,000 in total.

She was sacked by the NHS trust in November 2018, after a disciplinary hearing found she was insubordinate and frequently late, and she had failed to show up for training courses and failed to follow the correct procedure for booking study leave and recording sick days.

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