[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 07:47 GMT 08:47 UK
Pay-out for demoted jail worker
Hands on cell bars
The ruling will impact on current prison discrimination policy
A woman who suffered a breakdown following demotion from her prison job could get 400,000 in compensation.

Jacqui Beart, 39, suffered depression and never returned to work at Swaleside Prison on the Isle of Sheppey after going on sick leave in 1997.

The mother-of-two said she was demoted from her administrative post after asking to change her working hours.

She won an employment tribunal case of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination which was upheld after an appeal.

The case went to Court of Appeal, which also found in her favour.

'Flouting the law'

Ms Beart, said: "This sends out a message to all employers. They should not judge at face value whether someone is suffering from disability.

"The tribunal was critical of the failure of the Prison Service to apologise or even acknowledge that they have done anything wrong."

A spokesman for the Disability Rights Commission, said: "Flouting the law can cost employers dearly.

"Making an adjustment for a someone with a mental health problem at work can often be resolved quite simply.

"In this case it turned into a protracted and costly court case taking years to resolve and at considerable distress to the person involved."

The Prison Service has said it will use the court ruling to look at its current policy on disability discrimination.

Both parties have agreed sums totalling 40,300 for personal injury, damages to feelings, aggravated damages and unfair dismissal.

But compensation for past and future loss of earnings, as well as loss of pension, now has to be agreed by Ms Beart's legal team and Treasury solicitors.

Women's prisons are 'overcrowded'
28 Mar 03  |  England

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific