A female shipyard worker in Falmouth, Cornwall, has won a case for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal, after being sacked for having arthritis.
Louise Brooks started working at A&P Falmouth, a ship repair company, when she was 16, but was forced to stop work in 2002 after complaining of aching pains in her arms.
Brooks was later diagnosed as having arthritis, and after spending the greater part of four years unpaid, she was sacked in 2006.
The Truro Tribunal was told A&P only contacted Brooks approximately once a year, and never discussed with her any suitable work that became available at the company.
A&P was criticised by an employment tribunal for adopting an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to her plight. The court said Brooks was discriminated against by A&P as it did not make reasonable adjustments or alternative offers of work.
Mark Gray of Thompsons Solicitors, the firm representing Brooks, said: “Louise’s working life was A&P straight from school, but it was A&P that denied her a future, and showed amazing insensitivity by offering her a typing job without adjustments.
“It was the fact she was backed by her trade union and determined to fight for justice that this company has now been held to account,” he added.