BT worker who was harassed in ‘pocket dial’ rant awarded £8,000

A disabled BT engineer who was insulted by his manager in an accidental ‘pocket dial’ phone call has been awarded £8,000 compensation.

Paul Tribe suffers from muscular dystrophy and had worked for BT as a fibre optic joiner since 1988.

In May 2016, he telephoned his line manager Wayne Read to say that he would not be able to complete a job he was doing at a police station because it was about to close at 4pm.

Shortly afterwards, he received an accidental call from Mr Read who had ‘pocket dialled’ him while talking to a colleague. Mr Tribe then heard Mr Read criticising him as being a “bull…..er” and that an able-bodied person would have carried out the work at the police station before it closed.

Mr Tribe said he then phoned Mr Read, who said he was sorry that had he had heard those comments and suggested that if he was pocket dialled again he should hang up. Mr Read denied the pocket dial took place.

In a separate incident, Mr Tribe described to another manager the kind of work he could do despite his disability. The manager replied: “So you are not a complete handbag then.”

Mr Tribe brought claims of harassment and victimisation to the Employment Tribunal, which found in his favour. The judge said Mr Tribe had been subjected to a “degrading or humiliating environment” that violated his dignity.

He was awarded £8,131 compensation for harassment. His claim of victimisation was dismissed.

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Case details

Tribe and British Telecommunications Ltd
Employment Tribunal
July 2018
Employment Judge Evans

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