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Visually impaired employee settles bullying case with Barclays Bank


The Guardian reports today that Paul Brookes, a visually impaired employee with Barclays Bank has been paid £20,000 after claiming that he was the victim of workplace bullying.

According to the Guardian report 47 year old Brookes kept a “diary of torment” over the last three years of his employment at the bank. During that time he went through psychiatric counselling and retired through ill-health in 1999.

He had planned to take his case to an industrial tribunal later this year on the grounds of disability discrimination.

Brookes claimed that during the period of bullying he had correction fluid dropped in his hair, was expected to memorise 500 contact numbers during a four week period and then reprimanded for making mistakes and was also told off for being “too familiar” on the phone before being told that he was “too cold”.

Mr Brookes was born without sight and worked for the bank’s Redditch branch for 17 years before being relocated to the Kings Heath branch in 1996. Kings Heath was some 15 miles away. After 16 months at Kings Heath he was again moved to the Birmingham Colmore Row branch.

When he left the Kings Heath branch he was given a leaving card which when he showed it to his wife he found contained the message “Sod Off”.

Mr Brookes is also reported to have featured in Barclays staff magazine in articles highlighting the bank’s committments to equal opportunities.

The £20,000 settlement reportedly follows an initial offer of £1,000 and is believed to include an agreement not to discuss the case. His wife Katie, 37, said the outcome had vindicated them. “The treatment that Paul suffered at the hands of Barclays has had a deeply traumatic effect on us. He is now unable to work again and I have had to give up my job as a nanny to care for him.

“They turned Paul from a confident positive thinking man into a physical and emotional wreck. He wasn’t looking for a handout; he just wanted to be treated with the same respect as anyone else.”

Barclays have made no admission of liability in the case and a spokesperson is reported as saying that they were confident that staff had acted properly throughout.

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