Record £4.5m award for disability discrimination


Record £4.5m award for disability discrimination

A former local council employee has been awarded over £4.5m compensation for disability discrimination and harassment. The employee was dismissed from London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham in 2018.

An employment tribunal found she had suffered disability discrimination in 2021, with the remedy award just finalised.

The record £4.58m in compensation is one of the highest damages awards ever made in England and Wales. It serves to highlight the extent of the risks associated with failing to treat disabled employees fairly.

The employee, Rachel Wright-Turner, was a Director at the Council. She had previously held a role in another London Borough Council supporting residents of the Grenfell Tower disaster, in which 72 people lost their lives. Following the tragedy, she was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD.

Rachel made the Council aware of her diagnosis on taking up her new role. She let her new employer know she was having counselling. She also had a diagnosis of ADHD.

On the first day of her induction, she was asked about her experiences of being evacuated from her home by the Fire Service. She became distressed and highlighted how she was feeling to her manager.

Performance concerns were subsequently raised with her in May 2018. The Chief Executive of the Council also accused Rachel of having withheld her ADHD diagnosis during the recruitment process.

Rachel later told colleagues she was struggling with her mental health during a social event. She raised concerns about the potential consequences of being absent from work during a probationary period. Rachel became very upset during the event, hyperventilated and refused to leave a toilet cubicle.

Colleagues took her to A&E, where she was found to be depressed, traumatised and suicidal. She was not found to be intoxicated following the social event.

The Interim HR Director was among the employees at the social event and reported that Rachel had “had a lot to drink”. He also reported that Rachel had “wanted to be Sectioned”.

Rachel’s probationary period was subsequently extended, as she was signed off work by her GP for an extended period. An investigation into Rachel’s conduct was carried out by the Council at the same time.

She was dismissed from the role in August 2018, on the basis that she would not have been able to complete her probation period to the employer’s satisfaction.

The Tribunal subsequently found that the Interim HR Director had given misleading evidence about Rachel’s alcohol consumption during the social event. The Tribunal also found that the Interim HR Director and the Chief Executive had doctored the dismissal letter, so it appeared to have been completed before Rachel raised a grievance, which was not the case.

Peter Daly, a Partner at Doyle Clayton, the firm which acted for Rachel, said: “This is one of the largest awards ever made by an employment tribunal. It reflects both the scale of what Rachael has suffered and the seriousness of the unlawful conduct by her former employer.

“The award of exemplary damages is particularly noteworthy and it is indicative that Hammersmith & Fulham’s conduct fell egregiously below any acceptable standard for a public authority.

The award made by the Tribunal also included an ACAS uplift of £271,479 as the Council failed to follow the ACAS Code. The damages award may turn out to be the largest single award made at an employment tribunal.



About Occupational Health Assessment Ltd – a nationwide occupational health provider


Occupational Health Assessment Ltd provides rapid access to expert occupational health support for businesses across the United Kingdom. Appointments are available nationwide within two days. 


With a unique occupational health assessment servicenight worker health assessmentsfitness certifications and access to clinics in BelfastBirminghamBradfordBrightonBristolCardiffCoventryDerbyEdinburghGlasgowHullLeedsLeicesterLiverpoolLondonManchesterNewcastleNorthamptonNottinghamPlymouthPortsmouthReadingSheffieldSouthamptonStokeSurrey and more, the business provides high quality, expert medical advice.

Please contact us for further information or assistance. 

Scroll to Top