Berkshire

Octogenarian wins £200k 'age discrimination' payout from health trust

Royal Berkshire Hospital Image copyright Google
Image caption Eileen Jolly had worked at the hospital for 26 years before she was dismissed

A former medical secretary in her late 80s has been awarded £200,000 in compensation for age discrimination.

Eileen Jolly, who is now 89, had been working at Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust for 26 years before she was dismissed in 2017 for a "catastrophic failure in performance".

In January a judge ruled the trust had discriminated against her on the grounds of her age and disability.

The trust said it was disappointed by the outcome.

Mrs Jolly had been working at the Royal Berkshire Hospital as a medical secretary managing a list of breast cancer patients waiting for non-urgent surgery.

The tribunal heard in 2015 she had been given a "quite short" training session when the waiting lists were made electronic.

'Not managing effectively'

In 2016 she was suspended and described being "humiliated" when she was told to collect her things and leave the premises.

The hospital trust had accused her of not managing effectively, leading to three patients waiting 52 weeks from the date of their initial referral for surgery.

But Mrs Jolly raised a grievance saying she was being treated this way because of her age and was not given an opportunity to improve her performance.

The tribunal heard "discriminatory and inappropriate comments" were made about Mrs Jolly's age and her difficulty walking due to arthritis and her heart condition.

She was also described as being stuck in "old secretarial ways".

In his judgement employment judge Gumbiti-Zimuto ruled Mrs Jolly's dismissal had been unreasonable.

In a statement the trust said it was taking steps to ensure lessons were learned.

A spokeswoman said: "The trust has complied with the tribunal's order to pay the agreed sum to Mrs Jolly by way of compensation.

"Given that these proceedings have been upsetting and distressing for all concerned, the trust is pleased this matter is now concluded and parties can move on."

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