Law Firm Employee looses dismissal

claim over Birthday card

A Legal Secretary employed by a Solicitor’s firm in Salisbury has lost her claim against her employers for age discrimination and under whistleblowing legislation which she says was triggered by her colleagues communicating with her and sending her a card to celebrate her 50th birthday.

The Legal Secretary Miss H. Munro employed by Sampson Coward LLP said that she was “utterly shocked” when a fellow Legal Secretary, then aged 52 “jumped at her like a snake” to ask her about her birthday. The Claimant says that her colleague said that “you can’t hide it you know”.

The Claimant said that she was so shocked by the incident that she left the office early that day and then wrote to the firm two days later claiming that she felt that she had been “ambushed, punched, slapped and humiliated” by the “unsolicited” comments.

In line with standard practice in the firm her colleagues sent her a Christmas card in the post which they did for all employees of the firm.

Subsequently the Firm initiated disciplinary Proceedings against Miss Munro based on their long-running concerns in relation to her poor performance in work.

Miss Munro rejected the claims in relation to her employment and in response said that she had suffered age discrimination and she also relied on “whistleblowing” legislation and said that her complaint in relation to her birthday was based on her belief that that was a breach of data protection.

The tribunal which heard her claim dismissed her complaints and said that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that the Firm or her colleagues discriminated against her on the basis of age or that she had been singled out. The tribunal formed the view based on the evidence that the sending of the birthday card was an act of kindness in the firm and that the comment complained of by the Claimant was trivial and no malicious. The tribunal also found that there was no basis for the complaint under “whistleblowing” legislation. The claim was dismissed and Miss Munro was ordered to pay £1,700 costs to her former employer.

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This document is for information purposes only and does not purport to represent legal advice.  
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