A  Law firm owned by Ademola Akilo has been ordered by a Judge to pay Ms Elona Onibere £17,000 for unfair dismissal after taking leave following cancer treatment.

 Employment judge Bedeau ordered that the Luton firm Rodman Pearce Solicitors Ltd pay Elona Onibere following a remedy hearing at the Watford tribunal last month.

The sum includes £11,000 for injury to feelings in respect of Onibere’s disability discrimination claims, with interest of £2,270.

Onibere will also receive around £3,000 for being unfairly and wrongfully dismissed, and £719 for two weeks’ lost pay

The judge had ruled in March that Onibere suffered discrimination by being dismissed without consultation or an exploration of possible alternatives. The housing solicitor had a clause in her contract stating that her employment could be terminated if she was absent for 26 weeks in a year through incapacity, but the firm did not take into account that following her cancer diagnosis, Onibere was a disabled person as defined in the Equality Act 2010.

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The claimant gave evidence and did not call any witnesses. The respondent called Mr Ademola Akilo, sole proprietor and Managing Partner of the respondent firm.

 In addition, the parties adduced a joint bundle of documents comprising of 138 pages but some pages were missing from the paginated bundle. These were pages 124-130. In the course of the hearing the respondent produced its unaudited financial statements for the period 1 October 2019 to 30 September 2020. References will be made to the documents as numbered in the bundle. The claimant was a fee earner on a salary of £20,000 gross per annum and was given an annual fee earning target. Her target from 2018 to 2019 was £60,000, the equivalent of £5,000 per month. She was expected to open a minimum of seven new files each month.

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The tribunal found the firm had made a series of substantive failings: not sending the notice of termination letter, not sending the dismissal letter until mid-September, and offering no appeal hearing.

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