A hairdresser who was sacked because of her anxiety has been awarded £6,312.30
The woman had been working as an apprentice hairdresser for around seven months when she was diagnosed with anxiety in April 2017. She told the salon owner that she had been advised to take some time off work to help her manage stress, but the owner responded that they “didn’t do” sick days.
When she returned to work, the owner told her she was a liability, and her “head was all over the place”. She was then told to pack up her things and leave.
The salon argued that the woman’s firing was not due to her mental health issues, but instead a result of longstanding performance issues. The tribunal found in favour of the employee and treated the dismissal as direct discrimination.
In UK law, mental health can be treated as a disability, meaning it can be a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 if it has a “substantial and long-term effect on [someone’s] ability to carry out day-to-day activities.” It also means employers are required to make “reasonable adjustments” so a disabled person can work in the same way as someone who is not disabled.