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Doctor awarded £4.5 million pounds

19 December 2011 #Employment


A doctor has been awarded £4.5 million pounds following her successful claims for unfair dismissal, sex and race discrimination in one of the largest ever discrimination payouts. 

Dr Eva Michalak, who worked as a consultant at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, claimed she had been subjected to a sustained campaign of discrimination at the hands of three senior managers (including the director of HR).  All three individuals have been made jointly liable for the award.

Polish born, Dr Michalak, moved to the UK in 2002 to begin working for the NHS.  The tribunal found that she was subjected to a concerted campaign designed to bring her employment to an end, following a complaint she had made about suffering sex discrimination. The campaign led to a "bogus" disciplinary procedure being adopted and an unjustified and lengthy suspension leading to her dismissal.

Medical evidence at the tribunal concluded that Dr Michalak suffers from chronic post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of her treatment, and that she is unlikely to ever work again.  According to the medical expert, Dr Michalak became unable to carry out even the most basic day-to-day tasks. Her symptoms included:

  • Insomnia;
  • Nightmares in which she relives the events with the trust;
  • Episodes of tightness and chest pain;
  • Poor concentration;
  • Lack of libido; and
  • Poor memory.

The medial report also stated that Dr Michalak had been suicidal.

The payout was made up mostly of forecasted future loss of earnings (almost £942,000) and pension (over £666,000).  Dr Michalak was at the beginning of her career and it was estimated that she would have continued to work as a consultant until she was 68 (the age at which workers in future are likely to retire).

The award for sex and race discrimination included:

  • £30,000 for injury to feelings, which is at the upper limit of the Vento band;
  • £56,000 for psychiatric injury;
  • £4,000 in exemplary damages;
  • Over £43,000 for the past cost of care for her and her young son, whom she became unable to look after;
  • Over £31,000 for the estimated cost of future care; and
  • £50,000 for medical treatment.

Once other sums were added (including interest of almost £20,000, a £10,000 for a preparation time order and over £7,000 for unfair dismissal), the award was "grossed up" to allow for the tax that had to be paid on it coming to around £4.5 million.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.

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