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Trends 2012: Employment tribunals

A version of this article first appeared in HR Zone (www.hrzone.co.uk) on
9 January 2012.

After being “positively outraged” at the way in which the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust behaved, an employment tribunal awarded compensation of £4.5 million in December to Polish-born consultant Dr Eva Michalak. The record breaking award was ordered after Dr Michalak was found to be the victim of prolonged sex and race discrimination at the hands of her colleagues, who mounted a “concerted campaign” to bring her employment to an end because of her ethnic origins and because she took maternity leave.

The campaign started with secret meetings (even before Dr Michalak went on maternity leave), which included references to her Polish background and connected issues of competency.  On returning from maternity leave, Dr Michalak made a request for equal pay which was refused.  Following her subsequent allegation of sex discrimination, Dr Michalak’s colleagues started to make complaints about her which were based on “deliberate falsehoods” and led to her “lengthy and wholly unauthorised” suspension in January 2006.  The related disciplinary proceedings did not take place until over a year later in May 2007, which finally resulted in her dismissal in July 2008. More…