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Why should they get away with it?

I am having huge problems at work and I am wondering whether or not to take my employer to court. I am now signed off work with stress, having suffered many months of discrimination by my line manager. I do have my union involved and they say it would be much better for all parties concerned if I were to take a Compromise Agreement, ie. by leaving my job within the next 4 weeks and having my salary paid through to Christmas.
My initial response is “Why should I?” I feel a sense of injustice in that I am being forced out of the job I love. If it weren’t for this one person, I would be able to carry on doing what I do – and doing it well.
Apart from this, there are no other issues. From what I understand of the Equality Act 2010, this is a clear-cut case of direct discrimination. It does seem unfair to my colleagues that the person who did this to me has ‘got away with it’, but I must think of my own family, and my health too.  What do you think?

Marjorie, Durham

Deafauntie says:

Marjorie, I think you have already arrived at your own answer in that a Compromise Agreement might be the way to go. This involves an agreement signed by all parties ensuring confidentiality, an agreed sum, a good reference and anything else which has been agreed.
The confidentiality bit does mean they “get away with it”, but as you say, you need to think of yourself first. Your union obviously thinks this is the better option too.
But if you wanted to go to an Employment Tribunal, then you might need another opinion first, perhaps from a solicitor who specialises in employment issues.
If you have a strong case, then ask yourself whether it is in your best interests, bearing in mind that taking an employer to an Employment Tribunal is always a painful and lengthy process.  Even if you do proceed, the company will often try and seek an out of court compromise, as this will save them money. I am sure that the RAD Legal Services Team will have useful comments of their own to make.
Of course, it all costs money, and either way, will involve painful times for you. Good luck.

PS. Please note that legal advice for work discrimination issues  should be sought from a qualified employment solicitor.

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3 responses to “Why should they get away with it?

  1. Sorry to hear your news. I have had a similar experience and this was in HM Government!! (along with the recent case of a FCO Deaf Diplomat) It is sadly still possible to be discriminated even in the best of jobs.

    Reading your circumstances, and speaking from my experience….I did actually win my case in Court, but at the last moment the Treasury Dept decided to settle out of court with my and the Judge’s permission to discuss an arrangement similar to your Compromise Agreement. It is a good opportunity to explore avenues such as being re-employed elsewhere….and compensation, and making sure that you ask for good references and so on. All sorts of things can be discussed so don’t be afraid to explore that.

    The difficulty I have with your problem is that I don’t know the whole story or how much evidence you have? I personally made up my mind six months earlier to resign in order to collect my evidence, and then I could print everything off. That was the only reason why I had a strong case.

    Discrimination Law is notoriously difficult to prove in court unless you have absolute physical evidence such as emails etc… Courts are NOT interested in your feelings and hurt until you provide hard evidence of your discrimination.

    So think carefully with your head firmly screwed on if you can get your job back. You may have a strong case later if you can amass the evidence. However, if that is not possible, then go for the compromise agreement.

    Between you and me, I’d push for the lump sum of approx £30k tax-free…..and that should be in line with what I know to be the highest possible compensation without harming your employability, ie. if you have to sign on, or claim benefits. You can settle for less, but that has to be your choice.

    Having said all that I wish I can tell you what I got as compensation, but sadly I am bound by the Official Secrets Act, and cannot go public yet.

    I hope that my example will give you more confidence in deciding what is the best route of action for you?

    As always..it is better to get legal back up…but it is not easy. However if you can’t find one or cannot get legal aid, PLEASE GOOGLE pro-bono lawyers. A lot of lawyers in the UK are not aware that such services can be given voluntarily and charities too….and this is an excellent chance for the disabled to get free advice from good lawyers in the UK…..

    Good luck and fight for your rights!!

  2. If anyone is wondering what a Compromise Agreement is, Rob Wilks helpfully explains how it works on RAD Legal Advice’s website in answer to Marjorie’s question. Do take a look:

    http://www.radlegalservices.org.uk/?p=849

    Thanks Rob!

  3. Four weeks pay and being paid to Xmas is not much of a deal. To me it indicates that your Union don’t think you have much of a case. If there is discrimination a hurt feelings award alone could be up to £3k and there would be loss of income in the future on top. You may benefit from a realistic second opinion of what is at stake and what the real chances of winning a case are – unless you have already done the deal! We do second opinions all the time for union members – about half the time the union are right but have not explained why and the other half of the time they have missed something (or you didn’t tell them) and the settlement offer is too low…Can do initial free quick look if this helps

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