Cumbrian Probation worker awarded £93,000 for disability discrimination and harassment
After a four year legal battle, Hough Halton and Soal succeeded in obtaining almost £100,000 compensation for a Cumbrian Probation Worker who suffered disability discrimination and harassment.
Stephen Collingwood was so overworked that he suffered a breakdown and took his employer (Cumbrian Probation Service) to an Employment Tribunal. They refused to accept the Employment Tribunal decision but an appeal hearing in London upheld that decision to award damages.
Mr Collingwood said that probation chiefs had offered him an even bigger payout on condition that he kept the deal secret, but he refused.
The original tribunal ruled in his favour after hearing how he and a colleague had to deal with a huge workload as staffing problems shrank their team from nine to two.
At one point, the tribunal was told, Mr Collingwood had a caseload of around 150 offenders, including violent criminals and sex offenders. Matters came to a head in November 2004 when eight offenders arrived to see him at one time and the stress triggered his breakdown.
Mr Collingwood said the human resources manager refused to talk to him "in confidence" about his claim that he was being bullied by his female line manager.
The tribunal ruled that the manager picked on him openly, trying to make an example of him in front of colleagues over an expenses claim and moving him to another department without his agreement. This left him justifiably feeling humiliated and degraded, the tribunal ruled.
Mr Collingwood said he resigned in May 2009, but the problems began in April 2004, "within the space of four months, out of a team of nine people there was only myself and a probation officer left. I was a probation service worker - not even a trainee probation officer - and I was meant to deal with only low risk offenders. But I dealt with medium and high risk offenders, including sex offenders.
"There were public safety implications because offenders were not being supervised properly. I was doing the paperwork, and with the stress of it my mind was in overdrive, and I wasn't sleeping."
Cumbria Probation Service lodged an appeal against the original tribunal finding in Mr Collingwood's favour, but it was dismissed.