“People like me are able to get the help that they needed, without any worry about cost.” 

*Sushmita, a 46-year-old professional in the culinary sector, endured severe discrimination at her manager’s hands, leading her to fall into depression while continuing to work in a damaging environment. This eventually culminated in a workplace incident, wherein Sushmita’s boss pushed her too hard, necessitating a visit to Accident and Emergency. Despite being blameless, Sushmita was unjustly dismissed from her position.   

“I was depressed, and I didn’t know what to do. I knew I was in the right, but I didn’t know what options were available for me to get my company to take my situation seriously.” 

Upon seeking assistance from the Citizens Advice Bureau, Sushmita was directed to South West London Law Centres, being told that there may be a possibility of our centres giving her the necessary support. Subsequently, Sushmita was referred to Sarah Forsyth, a skilled employment advisor, who was able to offer Sushmita a free twenty-minute one-off advisory session.  

During their meeting, Sarah swiftly discerned that Sushmita had been unfairly dismissed due to a combination of workplace bullying and managerial negligence, which ultimately led to the incident resulting in Sushmita’s termination.  

“My manager was constantly bullying me, making me do things that I wasn’t supposed to have to do. Never leaving me alone, and creating a lot of stress within myself. I was too scared to say anything.”  

Sarah recommended that Sushmita obtain medical evidence from her GP and recommendations from an occupational therapist to refute the grounds of her dismissal. Considering the employer’s role in Sushmita’s ill-health, the tribunal was expected to take extra measures to accommodate her reintegration into the business following the incident, a step her supervisors evidently failed to fulfil. Sarah encouraged Sushmita to present this information to her employer and start an unfair dismissal claim.  

“I am so grateful for Sarah’s support. Sarah was truly the best person; she was so understanding, and was able to give me the advice I needed to take the situation to the next stage.” 

With Sarah’s guidance, Sushmita was able to proceed with her unfair dismissal claim, something that was especially crucial as her job loss left her without a stable income, exacerbating the strain on her mental and physical well-being.  

Sushmita rightfully won her claim, and was reinstated into her role, with all her pay backdated; her employers taking full responsibility for their actions and the incident as well.  

“It is wonderful that your organisation exists, so that people like me are able to get the help that they needed, without any worry about cost.”  

While Sushmita remained at her job for some time post-reinstatement, her newfound job security afforded her the opportunity to seek employment elsewhere, ultimately finding a happier, healthier workplace. 

Our One-off Advice Programme, supported by over 400 volunteer legal advisers, offers crucial legal guidance across issues like housing, family law, employment, and more; benefiting around 3,000 people annually. This service is essential for those on low incomes who aren’t eligible for legal aid, ensuring they understand their rights and next steps.  

If you’re experiencing workplace issues or similar challenges to Sushmita, we encourage you to contact us at SWLLC Work Advice. We’re here to help. 

*Name has been changed.