Brian Fox, who worked for Jaguar Land Rover, needed lifesaving operations
Brian Fox had worked for the automaker since he was 16 and had become a “dedicated” member of staff over the decades. However, he was fired at the age of 59 in March 2019 after twice undergoing heart surgery and refusing a request to no longer work night shifts for medical reasons.
Brian therefore took Jaguar Land Rover to an employment tribunal and eventually won a whopping £250,000 payout in March, based primarily on lost future earnings and pension contributions.
But the company didn’t pay the money immediately because the company was appealing the level of the reward. Brian, through his solicitor, took enforcement action via a recovery company who visited the company’s site in Coventry, West Midlands.
Speaking today, Brian, now 62, said: “I loved JLR and felt it was like my second family, but I was sacked for no reason.
“I had a letter from a doctor saying I was fit to work without any restrictions.
“But I was told to leave the site immediately after my dismissal and I was made to feel that I was no longer wanted.”
Birmingham Live reports that Brian started working on special vehicles in the factory paint shop in 1976.
As a teenager, Brian mixed paint for the Queen’s Land Rover as well as British Army vehicles at the Solihull factory in the West Midlands.
Brian received £250,000 in compensation
But Brian, who has since worked in other operations at the plant, needed his vital operations in 2012 and then 2014.
After two bouts of heart surgery, he was off work for about 16 months, then asked to work days instead of nights upon his return to help him recover, but says no suitable role for him has been proposed.
A JLR spokesperson said: “As this matter is currently the subject of an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.”
Brian was also off work due to stress and says he even agreed to change the sections to work days.
The court was told that JLR had offered him early retirement for medical reasons, but he declined the offer.
Brian pictured on vacation after recovering from heart surgery
Brian said: “I had heart valve surgery in December 2012. I then needed a second surgery on another valve which I had in December 2014.
“I was told that if both operations go well, which they did, I should be fine but I will need medication for the rest of my life.
“After the operation, I was very bad for weeks. It takes a long time to get back to your old self, physically and mentally.
“But I just wanted to get back to work and I worked hard in the gym and went swimming.
“I just wanted to feel normal again. Eventually I got a letter from the doctor saying I was fine with no restrictions.
“It upset me, I felt like I was letting JLR down, which I didn’t want to do. It was the same when I had my second operation.
“I have never had a work stoppage unless it was for something very serious. I have always enjoyed working at JLR. I have had 14 members of my family work there. My father is worked for more than 20 years.
“It used to be hard and dirty work, but I felt proud to work there, but I felt like I was treated differently because I had heart disease. My doctor put me on antidepressants. “
Brian worked at the Jaguar Land Rover factory in Solihull, West Midlands
Brian added: “Occupational health was good for me, but HR wanted me to work according to a doctor’s note regarding just after my operation, rather than a more recent note from my doctor stating that I was perfectly fit for to work.
“I also complained to HR after finding out that some internal jobs were not advertised on an internal portal, which meant I had no chance of seeing those jobs when they were available.
“For the past 15 years I have worked on quality supply parts where I was happy but the company could not afford me to stay on the day shift.
“At the end, I was working in the metrology – measurement – department. I asked to work days because I thought it would be better for my health, but the company just wanted me to retire for health reasons. health.
“I didn’t want this and then I was sacked and told to leave the site immediately. I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my work friends, people I had been with worked for years.”
Devastated, Brian sued the company in labor court in June 2019 and was represented by Slater and Gordon. He eventually won his case for unfair dismissal in September of the following year, as well as disability discrimination and indirect discrimination.
JLR was also found to have failed to make “reasonable adjustments”, but a claim of victimization was dismissed, as was a claim of direct discrimination due to disability.
The court said: “We consider that the claimant, who had worked for the respondent since he was 16, would have continued to work for the respondent until his retirement at age 65. There is no supporting evidence that there was a likelihood that the plaintiff would be dismissed before he reached retirement age.”
At a resumed hearing in March this year, Brian was awarded £252,336, including £70,000 for loss of earnings and £69,000 for loss of future pension. The court also awarded him £11,500 for “damage to feelings”.
Yet despite the award being finalized, Jaguar Land Rover reportedly failed to pay.
As a result, Brian was forced to employ bailiffs who traveled to the company’s headquarters in Coventry to demand payments.
He said: “Even if I won in court, it didn’t give me satisfaction. I could have continued working there if the company had just listened to me.
“I still have great affection for JLR and I believe there were people who were good to me. There were also people towards the end who treated me badly.
“But I will always love the company and the life I lived there.”
Rubel Bashir, Slater and Gordon’s senior partner, said: “Mr Fox was an extremely hardworking employee and worked for JLR throughout his adult life.
“He was incredibly proud of his job and saw JLR as an integral part of his life. He was extremely hurt and devastated by the manner in which he was fired and we are happy to have secured substantial compensation for him.
“JLR appealed the amount of compensation awarded, but this was rejected by the court and we are confident that they will not be successful.
“This judgment shows the importance for employers to make reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities and to explore all options before laying off.”