A beauty salon worker was dismissed without notice after losing an eye.
Zara Sutherland, 25, lost her job the day after she submitted a ‘fit note’ following surgery to remove her left eye.
She has now been awarded almost £18,000 after a tribunal ruled she lost her job as a result of her new disability.
Zara had been involved in an altercation during which she was allegedly hit in the face with a glass.
Doctors battled in vain to save her eye in a four-hour operation last May.
Zara was subsequently dismissed by The Beach Beauty Limited, a tanning and nail salon in Kirkcaldy, Fife.
She had submitted a ‘fit note’ signing her off work and advising her employer that she was entitled to statutory sick pay.
After she was dismissed, she took the case to an employment tribunal saying that the trauma she suffered was ‘exacerbated by losing my job.’
She added: ‘Proceeding with an employment tribunal was the last thing I wanted to deal with.’
The Beach Beauty Limited claimed Zara was dismissed because of complaints from clients.
However, the tribunal judge said many of these alleged complaints had not been raised with Zara nor had there been any performance reviews.
The judge said an additional claim by the company that it was planning to ‘scale down the business’ contradicted with them also saying they were looking to employ someone full-time.
The tribunal found Zara was dismissed because of her disability and her contract had been breached because she was not given a notice period.
Nina Munday, Manager of Fife Centre for Equalities (FCE) who helped bring the case, said: ‘We commend the courage and strength of Zara for fighting against injustice.
‘It could have been a completely different story if the employer had shown more compassion towards Zara and helped her to remain in employment.’
‘Employers should be aware that disabled employees are protected from discrimination arising from their disability.
‘This is an area of the Equality Act 2010 that may not be well understood.’
Zara has since found a new part-time job and is also running her own business.
Speaking after the hearing, she said she was thankful to FCE for helping to ‘right the wrong that was bestowed on me.
‘Living with a new disability will have its challenges but with the right support I can continue to do my job well,’ she added.
The Beach Beauty Limited owner, Keely Cooper said: ‘I’m saddened at what happened to Zara.
‘The actions of one person on a drunken night out can have such a detrimental effect on so many lives and a business.’