How disgusting is this?
A woman has won a tribunal after her boss said she was lucky to have a “free NHS boob job” even though she has breast cancer.
Aggie Kownacka worked for Textbook Teachers in Rutland. She told the tribunal her manager, Sharon Paul, who asked why she needed time off, as “it’s only early stages of cancer”.
Not only this, but Ms Paul told Ms Kownacka it was “no big deal” she would be forced into early menopause at the age of only 37.
Ms Kownacka previously worked as an account manager for the recruitment agency since June 2017.
At the end of the tribunal, the judge ruled the comments were harassment but not discrimination.
The hearing heard that she was good at her job and was a valued member of the team.
Ms Kownacka was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2o18.
Ms Paul was the owner and managing director of the recruitment agency.
The comments were said to have been made in June and July 2018.
The court heard that it was during a phone call on 6 June 2018 that Ms Paul said to Ms Kownacka: “It’s not like you’re going to die” and asked her: “What do you need that amount of time off for?… It’s only early stages of cancer.”
She also told Ms Kownacka that she should leave her treatment to her doctors. She told her to “focus on filling jobs for September”, asking “what would you do with all the time at home?”
The manager also said she was taking her condition “too seriously”.
On the 18th June, the hearing found she said: “Aggie are you ready to come back yet? I’m having to come in and fill in for you”.
Other outrageous comments include Ms Paul asking Ms Kownacka if she was happy with her “new breast size”. She also asked if she was going to have another “free boob job”.
During another call on 13 July, Ms Paul told Ms Kownacka she would have a high libido due to the hormone treatment.
Ms Kownacka resigned in December 2018.
Ms Paul denied making the comments. The tribunal was held remotely during January and March.
However, the tribunal found “on balance, it was more likely than not [they]… were said”.
Ms Kownacka was successful in her claim for harassment related to disability.
But her claims for direct disability discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments were dismissed.
Employment Judge Martin Brewer said: “She [Ms Paul] was, we find, intending to engage with the claimant in what were clearly difficult circumstances but, in doing so in the manner set out, she showed a lack of insight, sensitivity and empathy.”
“We are in no doubt that Ms Paul’s comments had the effect of violating the claimant’s dignity and of creating an offensive environment for her.”
Hopefully she’ll think twice in future.
Image via Alamy