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£100K compensation set for Gran fired by dog track bosses

Valerie Axon, aged 60 was recently fired after 21 years of service to Coral Racing. Mrs Axon required treatment for breast cancer and had to take some time off work.

Mrs Axon went back to work, and soon afterwards she found another lump. She informed her retail operations manager Carol Chown-Smith about the second lump and that she would need further treatment for it.

Later Mrs Axon was wrongly accused of drinking on the job and suspended from her £35,000-a-year position as retail manager with Coral.

Two months later in November Mrs Axon was officially fired from her job at Romford Greyhound Stadium.

On investigation the Tribunal found that Mrs Axon had only been drinking cordial at the end of her shifts. Mrs Axon claimed that she was subject to unfair dismissal and discriminatory discrimination.

Mrs Axon gave evidence stating that she felt the real reason for her dismissal was because she had breast cancer, and her treatment would mean taking sick leave for about six months. She had also informed the company that she had found another lump which could be potentially cancerous.

The Tribunal revealed that Mrs Axon had not been drinking alcohol at the end of her shifts. She had been drinking cordial. Three Coal Chiefs, including Ms Chown-Smith, gave evidence denying that Mrs Axon had been fired because of her cancer.

At the Tribunal, John Goodridge, the judge stated that on the balance of probabilities, they found that Mrs Axon had not consumed alcohol on duty.

The tribunal concluded that Ms Chown-Smith’s decision to fire Mrs Axon was based on the fact that she would need further treatment, and more time off work, having recently had a lengthy time off for her first round of treatment.

Mrs Axon, grandmother of five, stated that she felt she had lost a job she loved. She had enjoyed working with her staff of 70 employees and would miss them very much. Mrs Axon had worked every Boxing Day for the last 20 years, when she could have chosen to spend those times with family. She was devastated at the heartless treatment she received from the company.

Mrs Axon feels that the company ‘just wanted her out’, and she would have a difficult time getting another job at the same level. Mrs Axon went on to say that she and her family had been emotionally and financially devastated by her dismissal. She was delighted that she had been able to receive justice and hoped that her case would prove to be an example for other employees to stand up for their rights.

Lawyer Michael McDonough stated that they were thrilled to have been able to assist Mrs Axon through the tribunal.

Mr McDonough concluded by saying that he hoped the result came as a warning to this and other employers about the treatment of disabled people. The law firm anticipates claiming in the region of £100,000 in compensation because Mrs Axon is 60 years old and effectively her career is over.

The managers at Coral declined to comment.


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