Manager unfairly dismissed after locking customer in bank

A diabetic bank manager was discriminated against after being dismissed following an incident that saw him lock a customer in the branch.

Mr B Kuppala was employed by HBOS for 14 years and worked his way up to manager of its Oxford Street Halifax branch.

However, due to his diabetes, he made numerous security errors including leaving the keys to the branch in the doors and even locking a customer in after closing time.

He was diagnosed with type two diabetes in 2017, and soon afterwards the company closed three nearby branches, which resulted in an increase of footfall traffic in the Oxford Street branch.

This meant Mr Kuppala became unable to take breaks, which prevented him from being able to control his diabetes.

It left him often feeling confused, shaky, weak, hungry and lethargic, which led to his mistakes.

He was dismissed after an internal hearing found he had shown “serious disregard for well-documented and established procedures, despite recently completing training that covered exit procedures”. 

He made a claim against the bank for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

He provided a report from his GP that emphasised the importance of avoiding drops and spikes in blood glucose levels. The GP also said the effects of diabetes are magnified by factors such as stress and irregular breaks.

The Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of Mr Kuppala, although his actions were also found to have been 60% responsible for his dismissal.

He was awarded £49,457 for unfair dismissal, discriminatory dismissal and notice pay for wrongful dismissal.

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.

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