At a Leeds Employment Tribunal, history has been made. A medical Consultant who was proved to have suffered sex and race discrimination has been awarded compensation in the region of £4.5million. It is believed to be the largest sum awarded in a discrimination case in the UK.
Dr Eva Michalak, an obstetrician of Polish origins, suffered racial harassment and discrimination whilst she was away on maternity leave. The case goes back to 2003 when Dr Michalak was seven months pregnant. She was subjected to a barrage of racist bullying with false accusations of her behaviour towards her colleagues. She was finally suspended in 2006 and dismissed from her post in 2008. During the course of her treatment, by colleagues at the Pontefract General Infirmary in Leeds, her competency was questioned because of her Polish origins and her medical training in Poland.
The award is said to reflect the fact that her suffering throughout the years has left Dr Michalak with no hope in the future of regaining her confidence to practice medicine. The Tribunal in its report concluded that “It is right that in this case we are positively outraged at the way this employer has behaved.”
Swansea Bay REC Chief Executive’s views:
It must be noted by employers, particularly from the public sector, that the provisions of Equality Act 2010 is wholly implemented within each of their organisations and this must be in practical terms not just as a paper exercise. Failure to do so may result in such cases being reported, followed up and awards of compensation such as this, in our area and beyond.