Council boss sacked after nervous breakdown wins fight against London authority
A former disabled council head who suffered from PTSD following the Grenfell Tower fire has sued a London council for firing her and slashing her pay.
Rachel Wright-Turner developed post-traumatic stress disorder while supporting residents affected by the fire.
She was previously in charge of children’s services at the municipal councils of Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster.
But when she changed jobs to become director of utilities at Hammersmith and Fulham council in 2018, Rachel was wrongly fired after mental health issues, a court has found.
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When she started working at Hammersmith and Fulham Council, Rachel told her colleagues that she suffered from ADHD and PTSD.
But her colleagues didn’t believe her when she explained that she suffered from ADHD.
Rachel suffered a nervous breakdown in front of her colleagues and was put on sick leave.
She was later fired while on sick leave and was not given the opportunity to appeal the decision.
With the help of lawyers Slater and Gordon, Rachel won an employment tribunal against Hammersmith and Fulham Council.
They are now expected to pay him a “substantial sum” after a hearing to decide on the award to be held at a later date.
Rachel said: “The past three years have been a nightmare for me, my kids and my family.
“I am relieved by the judgment and the truth can now begin to be more widely understood.
“While the implications of the tribunal’s finding are devastating, it is fair and they deserve every word of it.
“I would like to thank each of the members of my superb legal team, past and present, who not only did an outstanding job managing my case successfully, but who were always a real personal support throughout the process.”
Partner Karen Murray successfully handled the case at Slater and Gordon while Ben Collins QC of Old Square Chambers represented Rachel in labor court.
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Karen said: “We are absolutely thrilled for Ms. Wright-Turner who has been through a lot in the past three years.
“The judgment is long and scathing from the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, and rightly so.
“A local government department cannot be expected to treat its employees this way.
“Local authorities are often the first port of call for vulnerable people in their communities, and this case highlights the lack of understanding and compassion surrounding hidden disabilities. “
A spokesperson for the Hammersmith and Fulham Council said: “We are disappointed and fundamentally disagree with the court’s judgment.
“We are studying it carefully and looking at our options.”