The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Hating your boss may amount to a disability

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Some employees on sick leave hate their managers so much it should be considered a disability, an employment tribunal in Newcastle has heard.

Alison Doyle, 44, went on sick leave from Northumbria Police Authority in 2001 after suffering an attack while making an arrest. Following the attack, a doctor assessed the constable as permanently disabled and unfit to perform police duties because of a back injury and severe anxiety. As a result, Ms Doyle received enhanced pension rights.

Northumbria Police Authority challenged the assessment, however, and in 2005 the dispute reached the high court, which overturned Ms Doyle's permanent disability certificate.

Ms Doyle, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, has now lodged a claim for compensation for disability discrimination and argues she was treated unfairly during her eight years away from the force on sick leave, most of which was unpaid.

Now retired from the force, Ms Doyle said: "I do not feel in any way that I was treated fairly by Northumbria Police.

"I begged the force for help to get me back to duties but I believe they failed to do that." She is claiming compensation from the force for failure to provide holiday pay, failure to pay expenses for travelling to medical appointments and failure to reinstate pay. She also missed out on a good conduct medal during her absence.

Northumbria Police has denied all allegations. Force solicitor Nicholas Wirz said: "[Ms Doyle] goes as far as to say she couldn't even perform administrative tasks because of her enmity towards Northumbria Police."

He also claimed a number of officers "lost belief" while on sick leave. "Something has happened that makes them question or challenge their own role as a constable. I think that the nature of the job makes it very difficult for someone who has lost belief in an organisation to take orders and get themselves in dangerous situations, you can see why it's hard for them to function well.

"PC Doyle is a case in point. She was clearly struggling, she was clearly unwell."


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