Worker wins £250k appeal for unfair dismissal after double heart surgery

A Land Rover worker wins £250,000 appeal for unfair dismissal after having double heart surgery.

17 April 2023

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Since we spend the majority of our life working, it’s only fair to assume that we’ll be treated fairly in the workplace. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case and in Brian’s case, he came to Slater and Gordon after being unfairly dismissed in his workplace.

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Brian Fox began working for Jaguar Land Rover at the age of 16 in 1976 and since then, worked across several departments, intending to remain in the workplace until his retirement.

However, in 2012 and again in 2014, he needed life-saving heart operations, after which he was off work for 16 months. He requested to work days instead of nights when he returned to help with his recovery, but says no suitable role was offered. He was also off work with stress and even agreed to change departments to work days.

Unfortunately, he was dismissed in March 2019 at the age of 59 after his request to no longer work nights shifts on medical grounds was turned down. Devastated, Brian took the company to an employment tribunal in June 2019, represented by our specialist employment law solicitors. He won his case for unfair dismissal in September the following year, as well as for discrimination arising from disability, and indirect discrimination.

At a remedy hearing in March 2022, the Tribunal found Brian would have remained at Jaguar Land Rover until his retirement age and awarded him £252,336, including £70,000 for loss of earnings and £69,000 for loss of future pension. The tribunal also awarded him £11,500 for 'injury to feelings'.

Jaguar Land Rover failed to pay him because the company was appealing the level of the award. This was a breach of the order and Brian, through Slater and Gordon, took enforcement action via a recovery company which visited JLR's Coventry site.

In February 2023, Jaguar Land Rover lost its appeal. The argument for the reduction of the award based on ‘vicissitudes of life' was based on speculative version of events and dismissed. A Tribunal can engage in speculation in seeking to make predictions as to future loss, but this must be based on evidence.

Brian received justice and said "I loved Jaguar Land Rover, but I was sacked for no reason. I was told to get off the site immediately following dismissal and was made to feel like I was not wanted anymore.

"I have never had time off work unless it was for something very serious. I've always liked working at Jaguar Land Rover, I felt proud to work there but I felt I was being treated differently because I had a heart condition. I was put on antidepressants by my doctor.

"Occupational health was good to me but HR wanted me to work according to a doctor's note that related to just after my surgery, rather than a newer note that said I was fully fit to work. I didn't have a chance to say goodbye to my work friends, people I'd worked with for years."

Slater and Gordon, Employment Lawyer, Doreen Reeves said: "Mr Fox was an extremely hardworking employee and worked for Jaguar Land Rover throughout his adult life.

"He took incredible pride in his work and considered Jaguar Land Rover an integral part of his life. He was extremely hurt and devastated by the manner of his dismissal, and we are pleased to have achieved a substantial compensation for him.

“The initial win was a great result for both Brian and Slater and Gordon, and we are pleased the ‘vicissitudes’ argument failed on appeal as there was no evidence to reduce Brian’s award. Although he will forever be disappointed by how Jaguar Land Rover treated a loyal employee, the win means Brian can now move on with his life.”

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