Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tribunal Condemns Management Bullying of Man with Asperger Syndrome

An Employment Tribunal has awarded £78,000 to Andrew Beck, whose employer bullied him because of his Asperger syndrome and learning difficulties.

As outlined in this article in the Manchester Evening News, Mr Beck worked without problems at a golf club for 12 years before a new manager arrived and started to make his working life a misery. The manager made Andrew wear bright clothing because of his autism, and banned him from using motorised vehicles despite his job involving moving lots of heavy equipment around. He ridiculed and humiliated Andrew, for example giving him a child's toy as a Christmas present.

Finally leaving the club's employment in 2007 because of the effect of this systematic bullying on his health, Andrew took an Employment Tribunal claim for constructive dismissal and disability discrimination, and was successful.

Although it is good to see that Mr Beck has won his claim and will be compensated, and that the employment law system has decided that this kind of management bullying is unacceptable, the case also shows up flaws in employment law. It is beyond the power of the Tribunal to compel the golf club to either reinstate Andrew or to discipline the bullying manager, Nick Marner. £78,000 does not sound much to me for being routinely abused and forced out of your job after 21 years service (in fact, it is less than a third of a sum described by Boris Johnson as 'chickenfeed'). Given that such awards take into count your lost earning capacity, it suggests to me that Andrew's job was not exactly well-paid.

But hey, Mr Marner is "going on a man-management course", so that's OK.

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