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Bank worker wins £22k after her boss rang her while she was on holiday to ask her not to post pics of cakes on Facebook

A BANK worker has won £22,000 after her boss rang her while she was on holiday asking her to not post photos of cakes on Facebook.

Victoria Lindsay, who suffers from PTSD, was signed off work at the time due to her severe anxiety.

Victoria Lindsay has won more than £22,000 through the employment tribunal after suing her former employer, HBOS

She had permission to run a cake-making business along side her HBOS job, and not only was it a hobby, she found it therapeutic for her mental health.

But, that didn’t stop Ms Lindsay’s manager phoning while she was on holiday, asking her to be “mindful” of what her colleagues might think about her baking while on sick leave.

The call was one of many Ms Lindsay had taken from the manager while she was off work, and saw her have a 30-minute panic attack in front of her two children.

It also ultimately saw the mum resign from her job of more than 20 years, and sue the bank for constructive unfair dismissal.

Now, Ms Lindsay, who worked for the bank in Scotland, has won £22,304 after suing HBOS for constructive unfair dismissal.

The employment tribunal heard Ms Lindsay’s manager, who is only named as Ms Jallow, phoned her about the cakes in December last year.

The tribunal report read: “Colleagues at the Hamilton branch had reacted negatively to a post made by Ms Lindsay regarding cakes made by her during her absence from work.”

A report added: “Ms Jallow called Ms Lindsay from a withheld number (which was not her normal practice). Ms Lindsay was in a shop in Blackpool with her family and said she would phone her back.

“When she called Ms Jallow, Ms Jallow asked her how she was. Ms Lindsay expressed surprise at the call as she had understood there would be no contact with her before January 17.

“Ms Jallow told her that senior management had brought to her attention her social media presence regarding the cake making business which she operated.

“Ms Lindsay was told to be ‘mindful’ of the impact posting about this would have on colleagues when she was off sick.

“She said she had not been doing anything wrong and this was a hobby which was therapeutic and had been approved by the bank.

“Ms Lindsay explained that she was on holiday with her family, that Ms Jallow knew she overthought issues and she was surprised she had contacted her when she knew she had been unable to take her call two days before.

“Ms Jallow offered to pick up the issue next week and she said no. Ms Jallow told her she had taken advice from HR before calling and had been advised to make the call.

“At this point Ms Lindsay became so distressed that her partner had to take the phone and told Ms Jallow she was now having a panic
attack, that she should confirm anything in writing and that she did not want further contact the following week.”

Employment Judge Amanda Jones ruled Ms Jallow had no reason to call the mum-of-two on December 17, and that it contributed to her already increasingly anxious state.

The hearing was told Ms Lindsay, who has had PTSD since 2016, suffered a panic attack in October last year following a significant family issue and went off work sick.

She became increasingly worried about a return to work and was “filled with fear”.

But her manager, Ms Jallow, regularly phoned her.

When Ms Lindsay asked if it was necessary for Ms Jallow to call her so regularly while she was off, the manager incorrectly informed her she was required to contact her every 10 days.

During a call in November, Ms Jallow questioned Ms Lindsay’s medication and urged her to review it as well as the care her doctors provided, despite Ms Lindsay being happy about it – which was ruled to be unreasonable.

Ms Lindsay later resigned in January, saying: “I feel so let down by the company and I can’t expose myself to that again.”

The tribunal ruled that Ms Lindsay’s claim of constructive unfair dismissal succeeded.

Judge Jones said: “Ms Lindsay said that the distress caused to her was horrific…

“She had permission to engage in her cake-making business, which she operated as a hobby and was therapeutic for dealing with her anxiety.

“While it may well be that staff at the branch made comment about this while she was off sick, the Tribunal found that there was no proper reason given for raising this with Ms Lindsay at the time the bank raised it or indeed at all.”

The Judge added: “Ms Jallow knew or should reasonably have known that calling Ms Lindsay unannounced about a work related matter which was not urgent and in which her conduct was being criticised, would cause her significant distress.”

For more information on employment tribunal claims, visit the Government website.

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