Case Review: Diabetic barmaid wins unfair dismissal claim

A golf club in East Anglia has lost an unfair dismissal claim brought by a former employee.

The claim brought against Gorleston Golf Club hinged on an incident whereby the Claimant’s manager, a qualified first-aider, was drinking in the club bar at the same time as the barmaid had collapsed into a diabetic coma.

The Claimant, Ms Polidano, began working at the golf club bar in 2005 and Mr Grey became her line manager in March 2011. Ms Polidano claimed that Mr Grey had “taken against” her and had flown into an “aggressive rage” at some of her requests.

Her working conditions also changed when Mr Grey took over, including a policy of no eating behind the bar. As a result, this meant that Ms Polidano could not take her diabetic medication. She claims that, despite her best efforts, management would not change the policy.

The incident which lead to the unfair dismissal claim took place on 5 August 2012 when Ms Polidano suffered a hypoglycemic attack. Her line manager, Mr Grey, allegedly “chose to continue drinking with his friends and not offer any assistance, on the grounds that he was off-duty”.

The Employment Tribunal heard that Mr Grey did not make any attempt to call an ambulance for his colleague. Three golf club members intervened instead to provide first aid.

The Employment Tribunal found in favour of Ms Polidano for her claim for constructive dismissal. It concluded that Gorleston Golf Club had failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments to her working conditions considering her diabetes. The unfair dismissal claim succeeded, but her claims of indirect and direct disability discrimination were not well-founded.