Leeds United football club (“the Club”) have been ordered to pay their former employee Lucy Ward in the region of £290,000.00 following her successful employment tribunal claim, earlier this year.
Ms Ward was employed as the club’s welfare and education officer for 17 years, claimed she was unfairly dismissed from her role by the Club’s owner Massimo Cellino on account of her relationship with her partner and former head coach Neil Redfearn. Mr Redfearn has previously been dismissed by Mr Cellino.
Leeds United argued that Ms Ward was dismissed for exceeding her annual holiday entitlement. They claimed that Ms Ward had failed to work on a Wednesday and that she had been taking excessive unauthorised leave in order to work as a commentator for the BBC. Ms Ward’s legal team argued that her working pattern was well known and had been agreed with her line manager. Furthermore she had not been spoken to about these working practices which had been in place for 11 years.
At the tribunal the Judge preferred Ms Ward’s evidence and ruled that the alleged reasons for the club terminating Ms Ward’s employment were a “sham” and agreed that the Club had taken a “sexist” view.
Ms Ward is reported to be delighted that her case has concluded with a judgment that is reflective of the losses she has suffered. From the £229,000.00, the Club have been ordered to pay £127,229.81 for sex discrimination, £5,525.00 for unfair dismissal and £55,500 in respect of Ms Ward’s liability to pay tax to the HMRC. The club has also been ordered to pay Ms Ward’s legal costs which are reported to be in the region of £100,000. The judgment from the tribunal case also reveals that the Club’s senior staff including Mr Cellino & the club have been ordered to take part in equality training.
If you are concerned by any of the issues raised in this article then please contact the employment team