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Disabled Land Rover worker wins tribunal over unfair dismissal and discrimination

A Land Rover track worker sacked after nearly 15 years service at the Solihull factory has won a landmark battle for discrimination on the grounds of his disability.

A Land Rover track worker sacked after nearly 15 years service at the Solihull factory has won a landmark battle for discrimination on the grounds of his disability.

Chris Short, aged 44, who suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome in his hands, won his claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination following an 18-month fight.

Mr Short, who has not worked since leaving Land Rover, says he was “bullied, threatened and abused” by managers prior to his dismissal in April 2009. He took the case to an employment tribunal, and won following a reserved judgment.

The former Lode Lane worker is now awaiting compensation from the Midlands automotive giant, pending the firm’s appeal against the tribunal ruling.

Mr Short says he was subjected to systematic discrimination after returning to work following an operation on his hand condition.

“Land Rover would not recognise that I was disabled. I was constantly called into the office and belittled,” he said.

“They dismissed me after telling me I was not capable of fulfilling my contract, which was utter rubbish. They were forcing me to use electric guns to attach components to vehicles.

“They played mind games with me and I was verbally abused on the shopfloor. It was like walking into a minefield every day because of my condition; it was horrendous.

“Land Rover puts on a big front about their being an equal opportunities employer but the reality is it’s all about whether your face fits or not.

‘‘I will never forgive them for the way they treated me.

“I am very pleased to have finally won a case like this against Land Rover. The case proves what an aggressive, bullying culture it was there.”

Mr Short praised the work of Thompsons solicitors and former Unite general secretary Tony Woodley on his case.

“Without their help I would not have been able to go through the tribunal on my own and Land Rover would have got away with their behaviour.

“Tony Woodley personally set up my appointments with Thompsons’ solicitors and also made sure anything else I needed was only a call away.”

Mr Short’s solicitor, Jim Gardner, said: “I am extremely pleased for Chris – he had a lot to cope with.

“In general, Land Rover’s policy for assisting workers who are disabled is good and functions very well but it didn’t work for Chris. This would seem to have been an isolated case.

“Following the decision, Land Rover has had a review of its policies for helping disabled employees.”

Mr Gardner said Mr Short was in line for “substantial” compensation depending on the outcome of the appeal.

“I am expecting the appeal to come up within the next four months. If that appeal is unsuccessful, we are back at the tribunal to consider Chris’s losses.”

A Land Rover spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that we are appealing against the tribunal’s ruling in relation to this case. We are not making any further comment.”

A date for the appeal hearing has yet to be arranged.

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