Northampton General Hospital settles out of court with disabled worker over harassment claims

Northampton General Hospital has agreed an out-of-court settlement with a former employee.
Northampton General Hospital has agreed an out-of-court settlement with a former employee.

A disabled former medical secretary at Northampton General Hospital was sent out for the day to trial office chairs for her nerve damage and was suspended on her return.

The worker, who has asked not to be named, injured her back in a horse riding accident 25 years ago and had to undergo a workplace assessment to avoid risk of injury while she was sat at her desk.

Northampton General Hospital.

Northampton General Hospital.

It was then agreed that the claimant would go to a showroom to try and pick out a suitable chair to help with her back pain after she reported that her desk was on a sloping floor.

Legal documents claim that ten minutes upon her return to work in April 2015 the hospital issued her with a suspension notice.

She claims management already knew they were going to suspend her from the hospital before she went out to trial more suitable chairs.

The worker felt the experience was humiliating and claims the workplace harassment was down to her disability.

The former worker says her line managers did not make exceptions for her painful back.

The former worker says her line managers did not make exceptions for her painful back.

She said: “After my back had become so painful I was sent to an inappropriate manager to discuss.

"I was then suspended for making malicious allegations.”

Following her suspension meeting, the medical secretary said she ‘was met with hysterical laughter’.

As the claimant was walking out of the building - an IT worker was installing a new computer for her, which she had been requesting for months.

Other incidents included the claimant being escorted off the premises ‘down two flights of stairs in an intimidating manner’ after she refused to speak about her medical issues in front of a manager, who she said she was ‘categorical’ should not have access to her records.

On one occasion she claims to have had a holiday approved, "then declined" shortly before she was meant to take it.

And at a different time, the former secretary says she was harassed by a manager after being accused of being rude to a payroll employee.

Then, the chosen "independent" investigator was the mother of a hospital manager she knew, court papers claim.

A ruling by the Information Commissioner also found the hospital breached her data protection rights by accidentally sending the results of a medical report to a person with the same name.

Papers seen by the Chron, show Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust has now agreed a settlement with the claimant.

A spokeswoman for the trust said they had no comment to make.