In the case of Mrs L Bristow v Craigard Care Ltd (In Administration) the claimant commenced her employment with the respondent as a Night Duty Care Assistant on 22 November 2018. She resigned on 31 March 2022.
The claimant has been affected by Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in both her wrists since 2013. In January 2021, she required to take time off to undergo surgery on her right wrist. In April 2021, she underwent surgery on her left wrist. Following both these surgeries she developed pins and needles in both wrists and was referred urgently for physiotherapy. She was absent from work for a total duration of 14 months.
In November 2021, the claimant met with her line manager, Fiona Mackenzie, to discuss a return to work. She wished to discuss a phased return. Her doctor had recommended that she begin with light duties starting with 2-3 hour shifts. Janene Whyte, Ms Mackenzie’s Manager, was in the office at the time.
When the claimant asked Ms Mackenzie about being allocated light duties, Ms Whyte responded and stated, “Don’t think you can just swan in here when you feel like it and say you’re coming back to work. It doesn’t work like that; we don’t have light duties. If you can’t do a full shift, there’s no job here for you’. Ms Whyte was aggressive and dismissive towards the claimant. Ms Mackenzie was unable to answer or interject.
The claimant was very upset at what Ms Whyte said. She was in a state of shock. She was aware that at least two other employees had come back on “light duties”.
In February 2022, Ms Mackenzie telephoned the claimant, and a meeting was arranged for 3 March 2022. The day before her meeting, the claimant began experiencing symptoms of stress. She was “scared” that Ms Whyte would be at the meeting again and that she would be treated the same way. She was unable to sleep that evening and experienced vomiting. She telephoned the respondent and advised them that she was unwell and would not be able to attend the meeting that day.
She went to see her G.P. and advised her G.P. of her intention to resign. Her G.P. gave her a sick note to cover her notice period. Later that day, the claimant handed in her resignation letter to the respondent.
The Tribunal ruled that the manner in which the claimant was treated at the meeting was a clear breach of duty by the respondent and it was not surprising that the claimant became nervous at the thought of returning to her workplace and eventually decided that she could not do so. It was clear that she was constructively dismissed and that this conduct was discriminatory and entitled the claimant to resign.
The Claimant was awarded a total of £29,218.88.
This provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, we cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.