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B&M pays £5,000 after disability harassment claim

B&M pays £5,000 after disability harassment claim
5th September 2021 Ian Streets

A former B&M Bargains worker who says he was bullied by staff because of his disability has been awarded £5,000 in a settlement case.
Harvey Spence, who lives in Belfast and has a learning disability, raised a disability harassment claim against B&M Retail Limited after claiming he was bullied on the shop floor.
Media outlets reported that Mr Spence worked for B&M for 18 months in a stock-filling role and had enjoyed the job.
However he said that changed when he received “disability harassment” from some of his colleagues.
The media reported that B&M Bargains, agreed to pay the former employee £5,000 without admission of liability.
Mr Spence claims he was excluded from conversations, subjected to derogatory remarks, was constantly called names and was verbally abused.
He said: “I liked going out to work and earning my own money, it was important to me.”
“After a year in my job, some new people I worked with started being horrible to me and it became really hard and very upsetting. I dreaded going to work.
“Some of the people I worked with wouldn’t speak to me at all and others would tell me to go away by saying horrible things, they used really bad language and called me names.
“I found it hard to stand up for myself and in the end I had to leave my job as it was making me feel very sick.
“I got so worried about how they would treat me if I went back in. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get another job because I’m really afraid other people will treat me like that again.”
Dr Evelyn Collins, Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, expressed concern at Mr Spence’s experience.
She told the BBC: “Harvey’s experience at work highlights that much remains to be done to challenge barriers to employment for many disabled people and to ensure they can secure and retain paid employment.
“Employers have a responsibility to provide and promote a good and harmonious working environment. Harvey did not experience that, he felt he had no option but to go off on sick leave and then it appears that no-one contacted him to check if he was OK or to offer support.
“This is exactly why employers must have procedures and policies in place to allow them to deal promptly and seriously with complaints of discrimination or harassment, and ensure that their staff know how to access these and that their managers are appropriately trained to use them.”

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