Case law updates

Failing to take employee’s concerns seriously leads to successful unfair dismissal claim

A dinner lady who used a Council’s whistleblowing hotline to report her concerns about school kitchen practices has won her constructive unfair dismissal claim at Tribunal. Neydi Vasconcelos worked as a part-time dinner lady at Medlock Primary School in Manchester where she contacted the council three times in 2016 with concerns about the use of resources in the kitchen.

The school took four months to respond to her allegations, and made the claimant feel that she was “in the wrong” and being punished for “trying to do the right thing”. Her identity as a whistleblower was then revealed to colleagues and she suffered bullying as a result. Vasconcelos made multiple requests to the Council to transfer her to another role but when they were not given adequate consideration, she felt she had no option but to resign.

The Tribunal, in upholding the claim said that neither the disclosure regarding the use of kitchen facilities nor the bullying allegations were satisfactorily investigated, and the Council failed to give proper consideration to the transfer request. She was awarded £45,000 in damages and for loss of earnings.