Yellow Door pays out in tribunal

A manager in a Portadown catering firm who fell victim to cancer twice has received a payout after mounting a discrimination battle against her old employer.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 11:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 9:53 am

Yellow Door Ltd agreed to pay her £40,000 to settle the unfinished tribunal case (although the settlement is silent on the issue of liability).

Siobhan Jacobs, a mother of two, had worked for the firm for 16 years. In 2014 she had been promoted to “head of events”.

In February 2016 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer. After treatment she resumed work eight months later.

But then, a year after she had returned to work, she was given another diagnosis – this time metastatic lung cancer.

This is effectively a secondary form of cancer, which has spread to other parts of the body from a primary source.

According to the NHS, symptoms of this type of cancer can include things like persistent pain, coughing blood, and breathlessness.

The Equality Commission, which helped her mount her disability discrimination tribunal case, has given an account of what happened next.

“Following treatment, Siobhan returned to work on a phased part-time basis in February 2019,” it said.

“Siobhan found herself without access to basic equipment including a mobile phone, and her desk and computer had been reallocated.

“She had to ‘hot desk’ [moving around to different desks instead of having one of her own] ... this made it difficult for her to do her job properly.

“Siobhan found that she could no longer manage long 10-to-12 hour shifts, as they caused her pain and fatigue.”

The commission said a doctor told Yellow Door she should not work longer than six hours, and should be given light duties where possible.

It added that after refusing to work one such long shift, Siobhan was asked to attend an investigatory meeting.

With the help of Macmillan, she wrote to her employer seeking adjustments.

“[But] the day after receiving this letter, her employer sent Siobhan a letter inviting her to a disciplinary hearing for major misconduct,” the commission continued.

Ultimately she resigned, and launched a tribunal case.

The commission added that in settling the case, the firm “affirmed its commitment to the principle of equality of opportunity in employment and has undertaken to liaise with [us], to review its equal opportunities policies, practices and procedures.”

The company will also provide equality training to all management and staff concerning disability law.