Man sacked after having heart attack awarded £41,000 for unfair dismissal

An employee who claimed he was fired for having a heart attack has been awarded £41,000 for unfair dismissal.

Alan Coulter, an accountant at the Park Hotel in Tynemouth suffered a heart attack in March 2004 and was due to have an operation five months later.

According to a report in North Tyneside Today, he was given a six week sicknote, but continued to work up to the operation in August. When he returned to work after the operation he was dismissed.

Park Hotel said Coulter was unhappy that a new employee had been taken on three days before his operation and that he had written to them asking to be made redundant.

But the tribunal ruled that the note was false.

“We note that prior to the claimant’s illness the respondents were very satisfied with his performance, to the extent that they gave him a 25% pay rise,” the tribunal said.

“It was only when he became seriously ill and had time off work with an uncertain work future that the respondents decided shortly before the first anniversary of his employment to dismiss him.

“We are satisfied that the real reason for the dismissal was that the claimant had become seriously, had taken time off work and the respondent did not want to risk continuing to employ an employee with a heart condition.”

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