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Former Serviceman Who Was Disciplined For Missing Work To Save Daughter’s Life Wins Claim

by : Hannah Smith on : 08 Sep 2021 10:37
Ex‑Serviceman Who Was Disciplined For Missing Work To Save Daughter's Life Wins ClaimPA Images

A former RAF bomb disposal expert is set to be awarded compensation by British Airways after an employment tribunal found that the company harassed him after he missed work to rush his daughter to hospital.

Steve Jones, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following his time in service, was working as an aircraft mechanic for BA in 2019 when his daughter nearly died from the same condition that had killed his wife some years earlier.

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British Airways (PA Images)PA Images

Jones informed his employer that he was not at work as he had been performing CPR on his daughter and was taking her to hospital, however following the incident the company asked him to attend a disciplinary hearing.

Despite telling his manager that his PTSD was ‘going into overdrive’ following the incident, Jones was threatened with the sack if he refused to attend a hearing, and has not returned to work since.

The tribunal found that BA had failed to take his PTSD account into consideration on several other occasions when he had missed work, including shortly after his diagnosis when he was issued a verbal warning after taking sick leave for two months, in 2019 when his father had a heart attack, and later that year when he was asked to attend a disciplinary hearing after having been hit by a car and forgetting to tell his bosses he had a hospital appointment.

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British Airways (PA Images)PA Images

According to The Times, a judge heard that Jones had suffered several PTSD triggers while working under his manager, including being issued with a letter during a work appraisal that said he had ‘two different personalities’ and a ‘profound negative impact on morale’.

Judge Sam Moore found that BA had discriminated and harassed Jones by failing to show discretion, saying in his ruling:

The tribunal was struck by a lack of empathy for the very difficult and upsetting situation Mr Jones was in during that period of almost losing both his father and daughter.

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Judge Moore also noted that BA was a signatory of the Armed Forces covenant, which contains a statement agreeing to give ‘special consideration’ to veterans when necessary.

A spokesperson for BA said, ‘We are disappointed with the decision and believe that we have acted fairly and properly throughout. We are currently considering whether we appeal the decision.’

BA sources also refuted the claims that he was disciplined after missing work to save his daughter’s life, and said it was for different absences in which he hadn’t followed the correct procedure to report them.

If you’ve been affected by any of the issues in this story, you can speak in confidence about where to get help from Mind free on 0300 123 3393, 9am–6pm Monday to Friday. 

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Hannah Smith

Hannah Smith is a London-based journalist at UNILAD. After studying History at UCL she worked for print publications on both sides of the pond, including spells at Harper's Magazine and The Times, before graduating with an MA in Newspaper Journalism from City, University of London.

Topics: News, Law, Now, PTSD

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The Times
  1. The Times

    Ex‑serviceman with PTSD harassed by British Airways, tribunal rules