A pharmacy technician with scoliosis who was prevented from taking breaks during her shift has been awarded almost £7,000 after an employment tribunal found she had been constructively and unfairly dismissed.
Natalie Williams left her job at a Boots branch in Holyhead after 34 years when a temporary manager drafted in to improve the store’s performance said staff were no longer allowed to take two 15-minute breaks on their shift as had been normal practice.
The manager told employees they would have to start work half an hour earlier or leave half an hour later if they wished to go on taking their breaks.
Mrs Williams told the tribunal in Llangefni that the breaks had previously offered her some relief from her condition, adding that standing for long periods caused “unbearable” pain.
The increasing demands of her job and "unmanageable" workload caused Mrs Williams to take two weeks off work due to stress, she said.
She later took another two weeks off to undergo physiotherapy, and upon returning had an assessment with her manager, who handed her a note saying 'professionalism - research what the word means and begin to practice within your role (lead by example),’ the Daily Mail reports.
It was after this meeting with her manager that Mrs Williams resigned, the tribunal heard.
The tribunal ruled that Williams had been constructively and unfairly dismissed by the pharmacy, with employment judge Davies saying the company failed to make “reasonable adjustments” to accommodate her disability.
Boots UK was told to pay Mrs Williams £6,882 in compensation.
Judge Davies said: “The removal of her tea breaks not only affected her ability to manage her pain but also led to her working additional hours without remuneration or time off in lieu.”