A former Royal Mail employee sacked for taking time off to care for her asthmatic son has won almost £9,000 for unfair dismissal.
An Aberdeen employment tribunal heard that Alison Balch was dismissed with just one week's notice following a six-month trial period in 2009 "on the grounds of failure to demonstrate suitability for employment ... in particular in relation to attendance".
Before her dismissal, however, she received no formal warning about her absences. Moreover, as a new employee on a six-month trial period, she should have been given a performance review after three months in the job by her line manager. Although the review was written up into a report, she didn't get to see it until the end of her trial period -- three months later.
The report stated that she had "fitted into her role reasonably well but her attendance is a concern".
Ms Balch, who worked part-time at Royal Mail's delivery and sorting office in the Dyce area of Aberdeen, told the employment tribunal she called in sick seven times during her six-month trial period.
In a written judgement, Judge Chris Lucas said: "The tribunal has found, that the reason or principal reason for Ms Balch's dismissal was that she had taken time off work in order to take action which was necessary to provide assistance on occasions when a dependant -- her son -- had fallen ill."
He added that Ms Balch was entitled to £8,705.36 compensation by virtue of automatic unfair dismissal.
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