Lisa had spent all of her career in the travel industry. She had worked as an Account Manager for Complete Cruises, a cruise ship company, since 2011.
As a result of the pandemic, Lisa was furloughed on 25 March 2020, as were her two fellow Account Managers who were both younger than her and male. While furloughed Lisa’s manager held weekly briefings with her and her colleagues. However, it became apparent during those calls that her manager was speaking with her two colleagues outside of these briefings and not with her.
In the last weeks of July 2020, Lisa’s employer spoke to staff on a group basis about proposed changes to the team. Lisa specifically had to ask whether this was a consultation meeting, as she could also see that her specific role had been deleted on the organisational chart, The HR representative confirmed it was a consultation meeting and also asked whether anyone wanted to take voluntary redundancy or early retirement. Lisa assumed the latter comment was directed at her and one other colleague, as most of the team were younger than Lisa.
On 4 August 2020, Lisa was given short notice of a one-to-one meeting to be held the next day, which Lisa could not attend because of a pre-arranged commitment that could not be changed. Lisa asked for her one-to-one meeting to be rearranged as soon as possible after that.
On 11 August 2020, Lisa attended her one-to-one meeting. Lisa was informed that her employer had offered two customer account manager roles to her two fellow Account Managers. Lisa was concerned that the selection process had not been conducted fairly or transparently. Lisa felt that she had been entirely overlooked for these roles because of her age and sex. Lisa asked her manager how the roles had been allocated and he said that he had mapped the roles to people using their skills and experience. Lisa was not provided with her assessment or scores.
On 13 August 2020, Lisa’s second one-to-one meeting to take place after notice of redundancy had already been served to end on 14 August 2020. Lisa attempted to get clearer information from her manager as to why she had been selected for redundancy but the responses were vague.
Lisa contacted Martin Searle Solicitors and Christine assisted her with raising a formal grievance about her discriminatory selection for redundancy and helped prepare her grievance appeal. Christine prepared a Subject Access Request and in response to this, Lisa finally received a copy of an assessment document which contained negative comments about Lisa, and referred to her as being “slow and resistant to change”.
Lisa had the benefit of legal expenses insurance, but the agreed hourly rate was very low and Lisa did not have the means to top-up to our hourly rates. We were however able to offer Lisa a Damages Based Agreement to cover the costs of issuing claims of unfair dismissal, sex and age discrimination on her behalf.
Following disclosure, it became apparent that there was very limited (if any) contemporaneous documentation about how Lisa’s line manager had assessed her for the two new Customer Account roles.
The employer initially made a low level of settlement of £5,000. There were limited jobs in the cruise ship sector, so Lisa took on bank work in the NHS. This paid nearly as much as she had been earning and she had to give credit for this salary. Christine was however able to settle her case for £19,000 to compensate her for the injury to her feelings. Lisa was very happy with the outcome.
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