Bank worker bullied over disability after being hit by car wins payout

Bank worker who was bullied over disability she got after being knocked down by a car on the way to her FIRST DAY in the office wins £4.7million payout

  • A bank worker was left disabled after being run over on her first day at NatWest in Croydon in 2008
  • She was shouted at and called stupid by other staff who insinuated that her disability made her ‘worthless’ 
  • Judge found the discrimination had contributed to AB’s mental health problems
  • RBS, which owns NatWest, was ordered to pay the record sum of £4.7million 

A bank worker who was made to feel like a hindrance by colleagues when she was left disabled after being run over on her first day at work has won a record discrimination payout of £4.7million.

The woman, known only as AB, suffered severe depression and psychosis after six years of humiliation at several branches of NatWest, a tribunal heard.

She was shouted at and called stupid by other staff who insinuated that her disability made her ‘worthless’ and ‘no help’ to customers. She now needs round-the-clock psychiatric care, the hearing was told.

AB’s ordeal started when she was hit by a car walking to the first day in her new job at NatWest in Croydon, south London, in 2008 aged 20.

The woman, known only as AB, suffered severe depression and psychosis after six years of humiliation at several branches of NatWest, a tribunal heard (file photo)

She broke a leg and damaged a knee and was left disabled with permanent nerve damage, a limp and had difficulty twisting and turning.

Yet the bank failed to provide her with occupational therapy, did not adjust her workstation according to her needs and made her work at the counter against her wishes.

The tribunal agreed that in 2013, by which time AB was working at a branch in Stratford, east London, she was coerced into agreeing a demotion from customer adviser to customer services officer.

During the discussion a deputy manager mentioned AB’s ‘limping around the branch’, making her believe she was being demoted due to her physical disability.

Months later she asked to be transferred to a branch in Clapham Common, but was denied the move because staff thought her disabilities would limit her ability to perform her job, leaving her ‘humiliated’.

She resigned from the bank in 2014, but the East London tribunal found she was the victim of unfair constructive dismissal. RBS, which owns NatWest, was ordered to pay the record sum after a judge found the discrimination had contributed to AB’s mental health problems. 

RBS, which owns NatWest, was ordered to pay the record sum after a judge found the discrimination had contributed to AB’s mental health problems (file photo)

A psychiatrist told the tribunal AB showed ‘severe depression, anxiety, conversion disorders and psychosis’ and said he doubted she would ever return to work. Initially AB, now 31, claimed £10.5million in damages from RBS, mostly to cover the cost of future care and assistance.

The banking group was eventually ordered to pay £4,670,535 but it appealed against the decision, claiming that AB’s psychiatric condition was ‘entirely attributable’ to other factors including childhood trauma and her road accident.

But Employment Tribunal Appeal judge Mr Justice Swift ruled the original tribunal’s reasons were ‘coherent and clear’.

He told RBS to pay the damages, plus £54,266 to cover lost interest. It is thought to be a record tribunal payout for disability discrimination. 

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