A partially-blind man has made a ‘whistleblowing’ claim in the Employment Tribunal after he alleged that he was dismissed last year because he had submitted complaints regarding health and safety in the workplace.
Mr Alan Chalk, a former clinical support worker at Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, submitted his Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, direct disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments for his disability, detriment due to protected disclosure, and dismissal due to protected disclosure to the Birmingham Employment Tribunal last year after he was dismissed from his employment. The matter came to a ‘preliminary hearing’ at the Birmingham Employment Tribunal earlier this month, with his former employer attempting to have the claim struck out as having little or no prospect of success.
Mr Chalk – who had worked at the hospital for 29 years – gave evidence at the preliminary hearing that he had started suffering from irritation to his eyes, nose and skin after he was exposed to fumes at the Trust’s decontamination unit and that, as a result, he had been forced to take 6 months off work sick. He alleged that other employees had complained of skin problems but that no-one had wanted to take responsibility and, further, that a doctor had failed to examine him. He alleged that he had reported the problems he was suffering to management but that no action was taken and there was a failure to implement reasonable adjustments relating to his contended disability. Mr Chalk was later dismissed.
Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are opposing Mr Chalk’s various claims and deny that other colleagues suffered similar problems to him. They also contend that the allegations made are “mere hearsay” and that it was not possible for the Trust to have caused Mr Chalk’s problems as it had fully implemented health and safety regulations in the decontamination unit.
The Employment Tribunal ruled, however, that Mr Chalk’s case could proceed to a full hearing and rejected the application to strike out his claim as having no prospects of success.
Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “We will have to await the outcome of the final hearing to see who will win this case. However, in order to succeed with his ‘whistleblowing’ claim, Mr Chalk will need to show a causal link between his protected disclosure and any detriment that he suffered as a result.”
Redmans Solicitors are settlement agreement solicitors and unfair dismissal solicitors based in London
Please note that Redmans Solicitors were not associated in any way with this case and represented neither of the parties