Sacked manager wins £126,000 in Employment Tribunal disability discrimination claim

MoJA former bank manager has won over £100,000 in damages from his former employers after he pursued a legal claim against them in a tribunal.

Mr Patrick O’Doherty won £126,000 after he brought claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination against his former employer, the Royal Bank of Scotland, in the Employment Tribunal.

Mr O’Doherty, 41, joined National Westminster Rail Network in 2009 as a branch manager at the Hyde and Denton branch and was subsequently transferred to the Accrington and Great Harwood branch. In January 2010 he went off sick from work and was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Whilst he was off work allegations were made that he had accessed accounts of members of his family and friends without their permission and was subsequently dismissed after a disciplinary hearing was held. Mr O’Doherty went on to make Employment Tribunal claims for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination (including a failure to make reasonable adjustments).

The claim came before the Employment Tribunal in 2012, with an Employment Judge ruling that Mr O’Doherty had been unfairly dismissed and that the Royal Bank of Scotland had failed to make reasonable adjustments during the disciplinary process which would have compensated for Mr O’Doherty’s disability. The Royal Bank of Scotland appealed this decision and the matter went to the Employment Appeal Tribunal last year, with the Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected all grounds of appeal and remitting the matter back to the Employment Tribunal for a remedies hearing (Judgment in this case can be found here).

The remedies hearing was subsequently held, with the Employment Tribunal ruling that Mr O’Doherty had not committed the acts that he had been accused of and had in no way contributed to the decision to dismiss him. The Employment Tribunal awarded Mr O’Doherty £126,000 in compensation for loss of earnings and injury to feelings for his various heads of claim.

A spokesperson for the Royal Bank of Scotland commented on the judgment: “There is still an ongoing legal process in relation to this matter and it wouldn’t be appropriate for the bank to comment further at this stage, pending the outcome of that process.”

Mr O’Doherty commented on the outcome: “They have destroyed my life and they have destroyed my family. Now it’s four years down the line, I’ve finally got a judgement [sic] and an amount, but now they are appealing it again. I don’t know where to turn any more… The Royal Bank of Scotland) didn’t cause it, but it prolonged it and it took me to the brink. All I want out of this now is for it to be over.”

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “Having read the judgment of the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the Royal Bank of Scotland ignored the opinion of the occupational health practitioner and compelled Mr O’Doherty to attend a disciplinary hearing without making any adjustments for his bipolar condition. This meant that Mr O’Doherty was unable to perform as well as he would have liked at this hearing and prejudiced the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings.”