Diabetic barmaid wins claim against club11th July, 2013 by Emma Williams
A diabetic barmaid at Gorleston Golf Club has been awarded undisclosed damages because her boss refused to help her after she collapsed and fell into a coma.
Michelle Polidano was working at the UK’s most eastern golf club, in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, last August when she suffered a hypoglycaemic attack and fell into a diabetic coma.
Her line manager, a qualified first aider, was at the bar when the incident happened, but was not working and was drinking with friends. After the barmaid’s collapse, he failed to call an ambulance or intervene to assist her – on the grounds that he was off duty. Instead, three members of the club rushed to her assistance and helped bring her round.
She quit the job the following day and launched a claim against the club.
An employment tribunal has heard that the two employees had not been getting on with each other for the previous year.
The tribunal heard that the line manager, club steward Allen Gray, had, at times, flown into ‘aggressive rages’ at Ms Polidano.
Employment judge Robin Postle ruled in favour of Michelle Polidano on her claim of constructive dismissal, which was based on a ‘last straw’ incident.
“It was, putting it mildly, appalling behaviour, contemptuous and unacceptable for a responsible line manager, because that is what Mr Gray was in relation to the claimant,” he said.
“One has to bear in mind that if a hypoglycaemic attack goes untreated it could lead to cardiac arrest.
“Mr Gray… chose to continue drinking with his friends and not offer any assistance… on the grounds that he was off duty”.
He added that Gorleston Golf Club failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments to her working conditions to accommodate her diabetes. But he ruled her claims of indirect discrimination and discrimination arising from disability were not well-founded.
Following the settlement Mrs Polidano said: “I’m just so pleased that it’s all over with.
“The last 11 months have been really, really stressful. I feel like my life has been on hold.
“I get upset even thinking about it now, but if it wasn’t for the members that came to my aid there’s a possibility I might not be here today. I was very fortunate.
“I was so shocked at the time that I resigned the next day. Personally I can’t imagine treating another human being that way. I’m still shocked at what he didn’t do.”