By JR on Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Must not criticise the good and the great. The little people must know their place
The Law Society has been found guilty of discrimination after its executive in charge of promoting disabled workers' welfare sacked the only full-time member of staff to have a serious disability.
Solicitor Elizabeth Marshall, 44, who has cerebral palsy, won 'substantial' compensation at a tribunal after she was made redundant from her role as a policy adviser and speechwriter for the body's president and chief executive.
She said she was humiliated and shocked when told she was to lose her job after 11 years in the role.
Ms Marshall told the Central London Employment Tribunal she believed the real reason for her dismissal was a series of emails she sent to colleagues who were fellow union members accusing the Law Society of 'systematic discrimination'.
Six days after she wrote the last email she was summoned to a meeting with the director of corporate responsibility, Stephen Ward, who is also the Law Society's diversity champion.
It was at this meeting she was told her job had been made redundant. When she complained, she was told that the decision could be justified by sound business reasons.
Ms Marshall claimed she was the only full-time disabled employee at the headquarters of Britain's most powerful law body in Chancery Lane, Central London.
She added: 'Unfortunately... I have to take the view that my disability is potentially an issue.' She said at no time was her performance in her role criticised. To her knowledge the only other disabled workers were two work-experience staff.
The tribunal ruled that the dismissal was unfair and that the society failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate her disability.
The Law Society, which represents more than 100,000 solicitors and often advises the Government on upholding diversity rights, had denied discrimination. Despite repeated requests for a response to the ruling, the body declined to comment.
The Law Society claims that it 'is committed to playing a leading role in the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equality of opportunity and diversity in all its activities'.