‘Two years ago, I was diagnosed with an incurable illness which I was told would shorten my life. I spent some time in hospital and, initially, received sick pay. I was then summarily dismissed by my employer.
‘A long period of stress and anxiety then began. I felt lonely and lost at the same time. My employer offered to make a goodwill payment of a meagre amount, but denied that I had any claim.
‘Desperate, I tried to search for legal advice and to find a solicitor to help me, but I realised that I could not afford the fees. I struggled a lot and was thinking to give up. I contacted a lot of organisations and in December I contacted South West London Law Centres. They explained that I was eligible for Legal Aid and they agreed to undertake work on my behalf under their Legal Aid contract. This was the beginning of a great release after a period of six months of stress and anxiety.
‘Through the Law Centre’s assistance and representation, I was eventually able to settle my claim for a substantial figure.
‘When the case settled a feeling of both joy and relief invaded me. Then I felt a huge sense of appeasement but to be honest, I don’t realize yet that it’s over. During the last few months, I felt like I was fighting two battles at once: a battle with my illness and fighting for my rights. I feel that from now I will be able to move forward.
‘The end of this story means no more stress, more time to focus on my physical recovery and to improve my mental well-being, (I hope that there will be fewer sleepless nights) and it gives me a temporary resolution of my financial worries.
‘Without the Law Centre, I wouldn’t have had the knowledge to be able to deal with the question of settlement negotiations. If the Law Centre hadn’t acted for me under the Legal Aid scheme, I wouldn’t have been able to pay my legal expenses and I couldn’t have managed this alone. I would strongly recommend the Law Centre to anyone who needs support about discrimination in an employment matter.
‘I am extremely grateful for the support I had throughout my case. I cannot thank the team enough. It was such a relief to be listened to by someone who was reliable. They perfectly understood my situation and were interested in helping me. I am so grateful for their hard work in my case.‘
Natalie* was dismissed from her role having been diagnosed with an incurable illness. She set out a complaint against her employer’s decision, who responded with a final offer of a small goodwill payment. Our discrimination caseworker was able to take on her case under legal aid and assist in her discrimination claim. She eventually agreed to a final five-figure settlement in compensation for the hurt and injury to feelings caused.
*not her real name.