Pub ordered to pay £23.5k compensation to sacked disabled worker

Sailor's Home, in Kessingland.

Sailor's Home, in Kessingland. - Credit: Google Maps

A pub worker has been paid more than £23,500 in compensation after unfairly being sacked for poor performance as a result of her osteoarthritis.

Christine Doddington claimed unfair dismissal and disability discrimination from bosses Paul, Sally and Brian Poppy following her departure from the Sailor's Home, in Kessingland.

An employment tribunal, held online last month, supported Ms Doddington's claims, and ordered the pub to pay a total of £23,589.85, including £10,000 for injury to her feelings.

Ms Doddington, who developed the condition around 2016, worked at the pub for seven years before being sacked "out of the blue" without notice by a Facebook message in January 2019, hours after finishing her shift.

She also claimed some tasks should have been shared with, or given to, another colleague, such as polishing and wrapping cutlery, to help her with her condition, or be given extra time. 

The pub's owners claim the reason for Ms Doddington's dismissal was gross misconduct in the workplace, arising from poor hygiene including "not washing hands after feeding and petting dogs" and "rolling cigarettes and smoking while food service was taking place."

The tribunal, which considered more than 230 pages of documents, heard evidence from former colleagues and a pub regular, as well as Paul Poppy.

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The pub manager was the only one of the three respondents to attend the hearing, telling the tribunal his retired parents Sally and Brian were "not prepared to deal with it," despite all three being liable for the money now owed. 

Mr Poppy declined to challenge Ms Doddington's evidence, but claimed he was not aware of her condition - a claim the tribunal found "inconceivable".

A witness statement from Mrs Poppy said Ms Doddington had told her about the osteoarthritis, but claimed she had asked Mrs Poppy not to tell her son.

Licensee Brian Poppy said he was not a partner or part-owner of the business and had nothing to do with the day-to-day running of the pub.

Unsigned typed witness statements supposedly from Mrs Poppy and Brian Poppy were also found to have been written by their son, with capital letters frequently missing in all statements.

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