disability discriminationdiscriminationdiscrimination issuesemployment lawemployment tribunalsinjury to feelingsreasons for dismissalTUPEunfair dismissal

Wendy Boyle was employed by the Respondent Steve Brundle, a Director of North Norfolk Ltd who are owners of the Dormy House Hotel, West Runton.  Mrs Boyle was employed from September 2015 – February 2018, seemingly without issue, until Mr Brundle dismissed her stating that he had no further need for a chambermaid as he was “going to concentrate on the restaurant business”.

Mr Brundle did not follow any process in respect of the dismissal and subsequently advertised for the recruitment of a Housekeeper to work at the Hotel.

In addition to the above, the Norwich Employment Tribunal heard that Mr Brundle had informed some of the staff at the Hotel, along with Mrs Boyle’s Solicitor, that he thought the Claimant had dementia or Alzheimers – it was submitted that this was in fact the real reason for the Claimant’s dismissal, an argument that was seemingly accepted by Judge Postle.

It is of note however that the Tribunal Hearing referred to above was a Remedy Hearing only, following a Default Judgment which was issued on 10th April 2019 and in which the Claimant’s claims were held to be well founded.  Mr Brundle had failed to submit a response to the Claimant’s claims on two occasions (an initial Default Judgment having been set aside following an application to the Tribunal made by the Respondent), however Judger Postle commented: “that defence, had it been entered, would clearly have had little prospect of success.  It was doomed to failure on the facts”.

The Tribunal awarded the Claimant the sum of £36,494 in respect of her claims, which included unfair dismissal, perceived direct discrimination relating to disability, failure to inform and consult under TUPE, breach of contract, and unlawful deductions from wages.  £7,500 of the £36,494 compensation awarded to the Claimant was in respect of costs.

Mrs Boyle’s daughter commented following the Tribunal that: “It has been a two-year battle to get my mum’s name cleared, having been sacked for having dementia…Mr Brundle sacked my mum claiming she had some form of dementia.  She, however, doesn’t, and this was his personal opinion”

Mr Brundle, who was in 2018 found to have unfairly dismissed his hotel manager at his previous venture, The Golden Fleece at the Quay, is appealing against the decision of the Tribunal.