Elliot Browne, a former senior manager with Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, has won almost £1m in damages after being sacked following 34 years with the NHS.
He won his case for unfair dismissal and racial discrimination after an employment tribunal ruled that he had been faced with “persistent discrimination” and an “intimidating environment” before he was suspended and then sacked from his post.
Mr Browne’s problems began when the division that he managed went into deficit and he had to produce a plan to bring the finances under control. After doing so he claimed to be the victim of bullying and harassment from Gill Heaton, the trust’s chief nurse and deputy chief executive who, he claimed, used tactics which she didn’t also apply to white colleagues who ran other departments with financial difficulties.
He was awarded compensation totalling £933,115 which includes injury to his feelings, aggravated damages, personal injury, compensation for future loss of earnings and also loss of pension rights.
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The trade union Unite, which represented Mr Browne, said that there had been a culture of institutionalised racism within the trust and that it had been cavalier in its management style. It also wants to see an independent inquiry into its disciplinary policies after finding out that, though only 2% of the trust’s workforce are black, they make up 25% of those who are sacked for wrongdoing.
The trust says that, while it takes discrimination seriously, it strongly believed that that wasn’t an issue in this case. It also said it was inappropriate to comment further at this stage.