Huge support has been shown to a ‘devoted’ Jaguar Land Rover worker who won £ 250,000 for unfair dismissal after two heart surgeries.
Brian Fox’s story of how he ‘summoned the bailiff’s court after JLR failed to pay out after he brought them to an employment court hit readers.
They supported the actions of the Solihull resident, who has worked at JLR since he was 16, but who was fired at the age of 59 after undergoing heart surgery twice and his request not to hold night shifts was denied.
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Mr. Fox took the company to an employment court and won a payout of £ 250,000 in March, based primarily on losses from future earnings and pension contributions, BirminghamLive reports.
His decision to hire the giant company was backed by readers who jumped in to congratulate his actions.
What some readers said
Rodney Trotter: “That’s how they treat someone after 40 years of service … shame on you Jaguar Land Rover.”
Another said, “This is where all your loyalty brings you, absolutely nowhere, you are just a number that can be replaced, enjoy your money back and put your feet up.”
Gordon Bod Taylor said: “Hope this makes some companies sit up and take note.”
Eamonn Eddie Mccaffery: “Hopefully he gets justice. His loyalty to this company says a lot. The management of this company needs to be replaced or retrained in the art of management.”
Jamie Martin: Good luck Brian, let the kids pay
The married father, through his lawyer, summoned a recovery firm, which visited JLR’s Coventry website after the compensation failed when JLR appealed the award.
Brian, who worked for over 40 years at the Lode Lane factory in Solihull, said: “I loved JLR and felt it was like my second family, but I was fired for no reason.
“I had a doctor’s letter to say I was able to work without restrictions.
“But I was told to leave the place immediately after the dismissal, and I made it feel like I was not wanted anymore.”
A spokesman for the JLR said: “Given that this case is currently the subject of an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”
Brian, now 62, started working for JLR as a 16-year-old in 1976 and worked on special vehicles in the paint shop. His job included mixing paint for Queen’s Land Rover as well as for military vehicles.
He also worked in other departments before having life-saving heart surgeries in 2012 and 2014.
After undergoing two heart surgeries, he was off work for about 16 months, and that was when he was asked to work during the day instead of night shifts when he returned to help with his recovery.
He also had time off from work with stress and tells that he even agreed to change sections for working days.
The labor court heard that he was offered early retirement for medical reasons, but he rejected that offer.
Brian said: “I had surgery on a heart valve in December 2012. I then needed another operation on another valve, which I had in December 2014.
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“I was told that if both surgeries went well, which they did, then I should be fine, but I will need medication for the rest of my life.
“After the operation, I felt very bad for weeks. It takes a long time to get back to my old self, physically and mentally.
“But I just wanted to go back to work and I worked hard in the gym and swam.
“I just wanted to feel normal again. Eventually I got a doctor’s letter to say I was in full shape with no restrictions.”
But Brian felt he was being treated differently when he returned and he made me feel like I was failing JLR, which I did not feel like doing.
“I’ve never had time off work unless it was for something very serious,” he said. “I have always enjoyed working at JLR. I had 14 of my family members work there. My father worked there for over 20 years.
“In the years that went by, it was hard and dirty work, but I felt proud to work there, but I felt like I was treated differently because I had a heart disease. I was put on antidepressants by my doctor.
“Then there was an incident where someone shouted at me and said no, simply because two vehicles had been moved. I was really shouted at for several minutes. I complained, but nothing was done.
“Occupational health was good for me, but HR wanted me to work according to a medical statement related to right after my surgery, rather than a recent note from my doctor saying I was fully fit for work.
“I also complained to HR after finding out that some internal jobs were not advertised on an internal portal, which meant I had no chance of seeing these jobs when they became vacant.
“For the last 15 years, I worked with supply-side quality, where I was happy to be there, but the company could not accommodate that I stayed on day shift.
“Eventually, I worked in the metrology department. I asked to work days because I thought it would be better for my health, but the company just wanted me to retire because of poor health.
“I did not want that and was later fired and asked to leave the place immediately. I did not have a chance to say goodbye to my co-workers, people I had worked with for years.”
Brian took the company to an employment court in June 2019 and was represented by Slater and Gordon. He eventually won his case for unfair dismissal in September the following year, as well as for discrimination on the grounds of disability and indirect discrimination.
The JLR was also found not to have made “reasonable adjustments”, although an allegation of retaliation and for direct disability discrimination were both rejected.
The court said: “We assess that the plaintiff, who had worked for the defendant since he was 16 years old, would have continued to work for the defendant until his retirement at the age of 65. There is no evidence to support that there was any the likelihood that the applicant was dismissed before reaching retirement age. “
In March this year, it was decided that Brian should receive £ 252,336, including £ 70,000 for loss of earnings and £ 69,000 for loss of future pension. The court also awarded him £ 11,500 for ‘damage to emotions’.
But Jaguar Land Rover reportedly failed to pay, and Brian was forced to hire ‘bailiffs’, who visited the company’s Coventry headquarters to demand payments.
He said: “Even though I won in court, it did not give me satisfaction. I could still have worked there if the company just listened to me.
“I still have a great love for JLR and believe that there were people there who were good to me. There were also some people towards the end who treated me badly.
“But I will always have a love for the company and the life I had there.”
Slater and Gordon senior associate Rubel Bashir said: “Mr. Fox was an extremely hard-working employee and worked for JLR throughout his adult life.
“He was incredibly proud of his work and regarded JLR as an integral part of his life. He was extremely hurt and crushed by the way his dismissal and we are delighted to have achieved significant compensation for him.
“JLR has appealed the amount of compensation awarded, but this has been rejected by the court and we are sure that they will not be upheld.
“This judgment demonstrates the importance of employers making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees and examining all options before dismissing them.”
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