Lawyer wrongfully fired after undergoing cancer treatment awarded £17,000

Extract from Rodman Pearce website

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Rodman Pearce creates his website

An employment tribunal has ordered a company to pay £17,000 to a lawyer unfairly dismissed following cancer treatment.

An employment tribunal ruled in March that Rodman Pearce Solicitors had made “substantial” failures in firing Elona Onibere, after she was diagnosed with cancer and taken a leave of absence.

The court found that Onibere, a housing lawyer, had been discriminated against by Luton’s firm because she was terminated without consultation or exploration of possible alternatives. And the firm did not grant the lawyer an appeal hearing and only sent Onibere a termination notice letter after firing her.

Onibere’s cancer diagnosis meant she was a disabled person within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. The owner of the business, Ademola Akilo, had told the court that he had not realized at the time that Onibere was disabled under the law. He acknowledged that in hindsight he should have taken specialist employment advice (despite the company claiming to be “experts” in this area), and he apologized to Onibere for “any distress that he might have caused”.

In a reparations hearing, the court has now ordered Rodman Pearce Solicitors to pay Onibere a total of £17,000. The award includes £11,000 for hurt feelings over the lawyer’s disability discrimination claims, plus interest of over £2,000.

The sum also consists of around £3,000 for the company that unfairly and wrongfully dismissed Onibere and around £700 for two weeks’ lost wages.

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