A FORMER administrator for an army cadets HQ has secured a £4,500 disability discrimination payout from the Ministry of Defence.
Gail Briggs had taken the North West of England and Isle of Man Reserve Forces and Cadets Association to an employment tribunal after she left their Holcombe offices suddenly.
She was taken on by the Ministry of Defence run facility after a surge in recruitment, a Manchester hearing was told.
And because of hearing difficulties, she was issued with a pen microphone and transmitter, for making phone calls.
But working relations between Ms Briggs and her colleagues broke down over time, the tribunal heard.
She claimed she was being ignored by fellow staff, who refused to take her calls and allegedly laughed at her attempts to use the phone with her specialist equipment.
The administrator eventually lodged a formal grievance, which was investigated by a line manager, Colonel Alex Barnes, also covering her unhappiness at adjustments to her role.
His inquiry would dismiss her allegations — but the officer also read out comments made by a colleague claiming Ms Briggs had used her disability to refuse to communicate with colleague on occasion.
Employment judge Kenderik Horne, sitting with two lay members, ruled that this, along with the colleague’s original comments, amounted to harassment.
“One aspect of the report that she found particularly upsetting was the ‘character assassination’ and especially the accusation that she had used her disability for her own purposes,” said Judge Horne. “Her feelings were intensified by the fact that she heard what was being said about her for the first time as the report was being read out loud at a meeting. She had not had any advance copy of the report to soften the blow.”
But Judge Horne acknowledged Ms Briggs, who left shortly after the grievance hearing, may still have stood down after her working relationship had broken down with colleagues and alterations to her post. The tribunal awarded her £4,000 in compensation, with £466 interest. But the judge ordered her to pay £200 to cover part of the MoD’s costs, after further claims were rejected.