Central Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust have denied any racism was involved in their decision to dismiss a Divisional Director following a career spanning 34 years.
Mr Browne was awarded damages in the amount of £933,115 for unfair dismissal, aggravated damages and loss of earnings and pension.
He claimed that working at the trust became so unbearable that it affected his health. He was close to suffering a mental breakdown. Although the trust have denied any discrimination, Union bosses at Unite claim it to be an all too common occurrence within the NHS and something which needs to be rooted out and stopped. Unite's Head of Health, Rachel Maskell said “NHS employers need to establish comprehensive and effective training programmes and human resources’ functions so that there will be no repetition of this case. Dignity at work needs to be a reality.”
Mr Browne said that he was subjected to discriminatory treatment for a year before his dismissal. The trust have so far declined to comment further as they currently awaiting the outcome of an appeal following the decision.
Unite's regional officer believed the sum awarded to be well deserved for the pain, suffering and grief Mr Browne was subjected to as a result of the trust's actions. This story follows a previous, highly publicised pay out by the NHS to a doctor who successfully argued that that harassment at work had caused her to suffer a breakdown and put her into such a state that she would be unable to work again.
The damages awarded in the Browne Case are a lot smaller in comparison to Dr Michalak's £4.5 million. However, cases of its kind will likely be further criticised for their impact upon patient care and possibility of leading to job losses on the front line. Dr Michalaks's pay out for example, was compared to the pay of 210 nurses for a year. As a result of the possible affects on the NHS of other similar pay outs ministers are reviewing the need for a cap on tribunal awards. There currently is no cap on awards for sex or race discrimination cases.