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Judge orders MoD to pay disabled woman £80,000 for unfair dismissal

THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) must pay £80,000 in damages for unfairly dismissing a woman with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) who had been in its employment for a decade.

The claimant, known only as “A,” was a civil servant at the MoD human resources facility in Cheadle Hulme, Manchester, which she said had a “toxic” workplace environment.

An employment tribunal found that the internal investigation into Ms A’s complaints lacked independence and that the staff member who made the decision to dismiss her was also included in her bullying and harassment complaint.

Employment Judge Porter said the MoD had discriminated against Ms A by deciding to dismiss her rather than downgrading or relocating her.

The judge said her claim of unfavourable treatment was “well founded” and ordered the MoD to pay the claimant £80,009.24.

Ms A had worked for the ministry since 2007 and suffered from depression and rheumatoid arthritis.

Despite her poor health, she was successful in many of her tasks, completing a project ahead of schedule and receiving end-of-year bonuses.

However, a senior colleague repeatedly touched her arm and in 2016 “grabbed the claimant’s left forearm to prevent her from leaving a meeting.”

The physical contact upset her to “a debilitating degree,” leaving her fearful and in tears.

This did not stop her from doing an “excellent job” and earning promotion at the end of that year.

When she started her new role, it emerged that the colleague who had grabbed her arm was now her line manager.

This dynamic worsened her anxiety, causing her to take more time off work, and she was diagnosed with PTSD.

She lodged a series of internal grievances, but her managers dismissed her in October 2017.

Last month, an employment tribunal in Manchester ordered the MoD to pay compensation, in a judgement published yesterday.

The ministry’s annual report, published last week, said that mental and behavioural disorders were the most significant cause of absence among its civil servants, accounting for 24 per cent of all cases.

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