An employment tribunal has ruled that HBOS, part of Lloyds Banking Group, must pay more than £22,000 in compensation to a mortgage adviser it found had been unfairly dismissed.
The ruling consists of a basic award of £9,250, and a compensatory award of £13,054.72
The case brought to the tribunal, Ms V Lindsay v HBOS, concerned an employee who resigned in January 2022, having started working with the business in September 2000. In 2016, Lindsay started suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and panic attacks following a bereavement. Until October 2021, her employer was found to have offered her sufficient support.
At this point, an incident led to Lindsay being signed off work for a period of three weeks for mental health reasons. When she voiced concerns about her return to work, Lindsay was met with the suggestion of redeployment. Despite asking to wait until she was in a better position to consider her role without anxiety, the matter was raised with HR. Lindsay said she also felt pressured by her manager to revisit her medication and treatment options.
In December 2021, Lindsay was signed off for a further six weeks. During this time, she was contacted by a manager regarding social media posts she had made about a cake making business, with the message that she should be mindful of how this came across at a time when she was meant to be off sick.
Lindsay argued that this was a therapeutic hobby, and that the call, which went against an agreement against unsolicited contact from work during her absence, caused her significant distress. The judgement agreed that HBOS should reasonably have known this to be the case.
While Lindsay chose to voluntarily resign in January 2022, the tribunal ruled that this amounted to unfair dismissal because of a breach of trust on the part of the employer.
The employment tribunal document stated: “In all of the circumstances, the tribunal concluded that the respondent had breached the duty of mutual trust and confidence with the claimant, that the claimant resigned in response, that she was entitled to do so and did not delay unduly in so doing.”
An HBOS spokesperson said: “We accept the judgement in this case.”