Charity ordered to pay former employee over £13,400 due to disability-based harassment

17 Jun 2024 News

Adobe, by Vitalii Vodolazskyi

Christian charity Grace Communion International has been ordered to pay a former employee over £13,400 for disability-related harassment and victimisation.

The Glasgow employment tribunal centred on former communications coordinator Rachel Montgomery, who has dyslexia and was employed at the charity from October 2020 until March 2022. 

The tribunal judgment shows Montgomery's claim of harassment based on her protected characteristic of disability was successful.

It states that in September 2021 there was “increasing friction in the working relationship” between Montgomery and Peter Mill, pastor of an Edinburgh congregation. 

That month, the claimant emailed Gavin Henderson with a grievance about Mill and his wife Jackie, who also worked in the church. 

She raised a further grievance against Henderson in December 2021 about concerns from a Zoom meeting that occurred the previous day. 

Montgomery said she was “perturbed” at a mention from Henderson that she had been managing the charity’s website when it was not corrected. 

In an email to Henderson, the claimant wrote: “The possible consequences of this might well result (and viewing last night's comments, already have resulted) in a negative perception of my abilities. That is more than just a frustration for me. 

“Can this please be corrected, especially at board level as there were four members that I could see present.”

It was recorded that Henderson decided not to renew the claimant’s work contract in November 2021. 

In the December 2021 grievance, Montgomery said that her role was being “deconstructed” and changed to an administration role, which she said she would not be good at due to her dyslexia. 

The email read: “My job role since raising a grievance is being deconstructed at an astonishingly quick speed and I have been subjected to meetings with no agenda regarding performance which has come as a surprise as I've never had complaints about my work before.”

On 10 December, Montgomery was certified as unfit for work from 7 December to 21 December 2021 because of “work-related stress”.  

The sum of £13,423 was ordered to be made to Montgomery from the charity for “injury to feelings” and included interest.  

Other claims that Montgomery made, such as automatic unfair dismissal, failure to make reasonable adjustments, were unsuccessful and dismissed in the judgment. 

Grace Communion International did not respond to a request for comment. 

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