A popular bakery firm is facing claims it broke the law by sacking a long-term employee who had mental health issues.
Former Goodfellow and Steven manager Sandra Orrock is taking the company to an employment tribunal, claiming she was sacked because she had depression.
She was dismissed from her job at the shop on Gray Street, Broughty Ferry, a year ago after she was alleged to have acted “in a threatening or aggressive manner” in front of customers and staff.
Goodfellow and Steven told her its trust in her as an employee had been “irrevocably destroyed”.
However, it has emerged that the firm sacked her after obtaining a doctor’s report that suggested her anxiety may have been responsible for her conduct.
Ms Orrock claims the firm discriminated against her and sacked her unlawfully due to her impaired mental health at the time.
A preliminary employment tribunal hearing has already ruled that Ms Orrock is entitled to argue that she was discriminated against as a disabled person. Last month’s hearing was told Ms Orrock had worked for the baker since 2009, and had been taking medication on and off since September 2014 to treat depression and anxiety.
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The tribunal agreed that her anxiety had affected her ability to get up in the morning, go to work, sleep and focus on reading.
But after she was suspended from work on August 29 last year, Ms Orrock’s condition deterioriated further. An assessment by Dr Derek McCormack, commissioned by the baker, found she had “symptoms and signs consistent with a significant anxiety and depressive disorder”.
However, after receiving the report, Goodfellow and Steven sent a letter to Ms Orrock on October 15 last year advising her that she had been dismissed.
The full tribunal hearing is expected to take place in Dundee in March.
Ryan Russell, Ms Orrock’s solicitor at Muir Myles Laverty, said: “I can confirm our client is making claims of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
“It would not be appropriate to comment further at this time while the case is ongoing.”
Don Henderson, managing director at Goodfellow and Steven, also declined to comment.
However, he said: “We totally refute the allegation made that Sandra Orrock was dismissed because of mental illness or was in any way discriminated against.”
This content was originally published here.