66-year-old worker wins discrimination complaint after supervisor compared him to Pontius Pilot

66-year-old worker wins discrimination complaint after supervisor compared him to Pontius Pilot

A long-time employee of an insurance company who was accused of age discrimination by his supervisor of being there “as long as Pontius Pilate” has won the lawsuit.

According to testimony given in an employment tribunal, managing director Shirley Bellamy made the statement to David Finch while they were negotiating a separation agreement for him to depart the company.

The 66-year-old, who had “a great many years” of industrial experience, found it “humiliating and disrespectful” to be compared to the Roman ruler of ancient Israel who oversaw the execution of Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago.

Mrs. Bellamy also questioned him about taking an afternoon nap since he often fell asleep at work owing to his many medical concerns and that the heart attack survivor postpone his vacation because the Covid epidemic would be deadly for him.

After successfully suing Clegg Gifford & Co. for age and handicap discrimination, Mr. Finch is now eligible for compensation.

The insurance veteran, whose previous job was acquired by the corporation, has been employed there as a credit controller since 2017, according to testimony given at an East London court.

The panel heard that while he was “clearly extremely skilled” at his profession, he had anaemia and diabetes, for which his medication rendered him sleepy.

According to testimony given at the trial, Mrs. Bellamy often asked Mr. Finch in the early 2020s, “Are you planning on a nap this afternoon? “, since he sometimes slept off in the workplace.

The statement was described before the tribunal as “humiliating and demeaning” by Mr. Finch.

Mr. Finch was supposed to be shielded in March of that year because of Covid. In a discussion regarding sick leave, Mrs. Bellamy advised that Mr. Finch move up a vacation.

She reportedly urged him, “You should take the vacation now,” according to the tribunal. If not, it’s possible that you won’t be present in September or October.

Mr. Finch thought Mrs. Bellamy meant that he could have passed away by then.

To have such a nasty remark said, he wrote in an email to her, “has just contributed to the stress, worry, and uncertainty surrounding the present situation.”

The government announced the furlough program in April, and the corporation offered it to several of its employees—including Mr. Finch—who chose it over redundancy.

When employees were permitted to return to work, Mr. Finch stated his worries about taking public transportation and going to the office since the government advised him to remain at home.

He informed the business in July that he was permitted to return to work but that he would have difficulties utilizing the forbidden public transportation routes.

But in the same month, he also got a letter outlining a settlement agreement that included provisions for redundancy without any prior consultation.

Mrs. Bellamy, who has worked at Clegg Gifford for 48 years, received a response from Mr. Finch in which he pointed out that the offer had given the wrong start date for his employment at the company and praised the length of his service.

We know you have been around since Pontius was a Pilate, and you have got the maximum amount of statutory redundancy compensation, she replied through email.

We’ll make the required changes and send this to you.

According to testimony given during the hearing, Mr. Finch rejected the settlement proposal and responded by making a number of accusations against Mrs. Bellamy.

Mr. Finch quit when the managing director told him to come back to work so he could finish out his contract.

Parts of Mr. Finch’s claims of victimization, constructive dismissal, and age-related harassment were supported by the panel.

The panel’s verdict read: “It may be because of the length of [Mrs. Bellamy’s] career, but it became apparent…that she had no training in equality or diversity.

The impression we get of [Mrs. Bellamy] is that she sometimes expresses herself in a careless or, as we have now discovered, at least insensitive manner.

The Employment Tribunal agrees that the mention of Pontius Pilate has the potential to offend someone. It can be very hurtful to a Christian, to use an analogy.

The panel said that asking Mr. Finch whether he was going to take a sleep was “crass,” and it added that Mr. Finch “obviously understood it to be very cruel and humiliating given how life-threatening his impairments were.”

The panel also determined that Mrs. Bellamy victimized him by ‘forcing his hand’ and requiring him to go back to work after he rejected the settlement offer.

Overall, the court found that “these discriminatory actions were cumulatively significant enough to warrant [Mr. Finch] in quitting and regarding himself as constructively terminated because of this prejudice.”

The amount of compensation Mr. Finch will get will be decided at a later hearing.

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