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HMRC worker wins £250k payout after being sacked following NYE lawsuit

An administrative worker at HMRC suffering from depression has been awarded nearly £250,000 in compensation after being sacked after a row with her ‘tough’ manager who made her life ‘a misery’.

Elaine Worsley, who has worked at HMRC for 45 years, fell out with Linda Marrison after her boss refused to let her take New Year’s Eve off, an employment tribunal has heard.

Ms Worsley was placed on furlough due to anxiety brought on by the deteriorating working relationship and later felt “suicidal”. Her request to be transferred to another team was denied and she was dismissed from the organization.

The Manchester hearing was told that Ms Worsley had worked as an administrative officer in the city’s HMRC office since leaving school in 1970. The two women were closely linked until 2014 and even bought each other chocolate and flowers, the panel heard.

However, their relationship changed when Ms Worsley’s request for four days’ leave over Christmas, including New Year’s Eve, to go on holiday in Wales was turned down.

Ms Marrison told Ms Worsley that holiday season was a “wish list” at the time, which she felt was “unfair” as she “never” took summer time off and “owed a considerable amount of holiday”.

The two women had a meeting on October 13, which was attended by colleague Helen Mitchell, who said she “strongly believes” the couple’s break-up stemmed from the row over annual leave.

Ms Mitchell said Ms Marrison was unwilling to “meet Ms Worsley halfway” and was standing with her and “asserting her authority”.

Ms Marrison also turned down Ms Mitchell’s offer to work New Year’s Eve to represent Ms Worsley, the court heard.

Ms Worsley felt there was a “clash of personalities” between her and her boss that could only be resolved if she switched teams. At that suggestion, “Ms. Marrison didn’t look up and respond, ‘like that’s ever going to happen.'”

The couple clashed again in November after Ms Worsley forgot to meet.

Ms Worsley told her boss to leave her alone or she “might as well go home,” to which Ms Marrison “snapped back” and said, “Fine then go home, go ahead, go,” and Ms Worsley felt “disturbed”. .

Ms Worsley told the hearing: “To tell someone who is as depressed as I am to go home to an empty house where I have no support is despicable.”

On December 1, Ms Worsley submitted a nine-page document along with a letter from her GP describing her depression and “detailing Ms Marrison’s allegations of bullying”.

Ms. Marrison then banned her from working overtime “effective immediately” to “help them maintain a healthier work-life balance.”

Ms Worsley told the court the work was “her rock” and she “enjoyed” overtime and relied on it financially.

The administrative worker took sick leave on December 18 and by March 2015 was feeling “extremely unwell”, suicidal and “isolated” from colleagues who could have supported her, the hearing said.

In March, she wrote to HMRC, explaining that as long as she was “disconnected” from Ms Marrison as her manager, she could return to work.

On April 13, 2015, Ms Worsley was fired after the Revenue Agency concluded that “there was no prospect of returning to work within a reasonable time”.

After her appeal against the decision was dismissed, HMRC took her to the Labor Court.

Labor judge Anthony Ross said Ms Marrison had “no sensitivity” and “appears unaware of guidance on possible signs of depression and mental health”.

He continued, “Ms. Worsley has had an exceptional seniority of over 40 years. At the time of the dismissal decision, she had been absent from work for a relatively short period of less than 3 months.

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