Constructive dismissal claim won by lecturer called ‘mad as a box of frogs.’

After BPP University in London failed to reduce her workload, a former lecturer has won a claim at the employment tribunal because of constructive unfair dismissal.

Ms Elizabeth Aylott, struggling with her mental health repeatedly asked for her workload to be reduced because she had problems coping with it.

Working at BPP University in London Ms Aylott repeatedly raised the issue of her workload. She also suffered from anxiety and depression.

Mr Aylott told the tribunal that at one point in the summer of 2018, even though she was working between 55-60 hours each week, she cancelled her annual leave because she could not meet work demands.

To cope with work pressure, Ms Aylott told her manager she had begun to drink regularly. She had also had suicidal thoughts.

When she was offered a permanent position at the University in 2013, Ms Aylott told the company that she had been taking antidepressants since her husband had passed away.

When her son was diagnosed with Myalgia Encephalomyelitis Ms Aylott again raised her mental health issues. At that time, she suspected that she herself had Asperger’s syndrome.

Due to deteriorating mental health Ms Aylott was signed off work in 2018 for stress. After she left the company in 2018 she lodged a claim for constructive unfair dismissal, as well as for disability discrimination.

Ms Aylott told the tribunal that she was discriminated against because she had not been offered more than 15 days paid sick leave. Neither had she received a phased return to work agreement.

Additionally, one of her colleagues had commented that she was ‘as mad as a box of frogs.’

While the Central London Employment Tribunal found that these issues did not amount to disability discrimination, they ruled that her claim for unfair dismissal was valid.

By saying that she was ‘as mad as a box of frogs’ the organisation had breached her trust and confidence. Additionally, deciding not to pay non-contractual sick pay after 15 days, failure to reduce her workload or provide adequate support supported her claim.

The tribunal agreed further that the organisation had not heeded her indications that she was not coping. They had tried to reach a settlement with Ms Aylott instead of referring her to occupational health as she had requested.

The investigation that the organisation had carried out was superficial and contained inaccuracies. The investigation had not addressed all Ms Aylott’s arguments and was simply for her ‘the last straw.’

A compensation order will be heard in July, and according to reports BPP University plan on appealing the decision.


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