Hospital worker ordered to pay former employer’s £17,000 legal bill, after years of pursuing unfair dismissal claim with ‘no reasonable prospect of success’

Makbool Javaid, partner – Simons Muirhead & Burton

September 12, 2022

In Ms NK Dhillon v Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Narinderjeet Kaur Dhillon has attended several employment tribunal hearings since 2019 claiming she was unfairly dismissed by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and suffered racial and disability discrimination.

One of the first hearings had to be postponed after she failed to show up on the second day and claimed she was ill. In December 2019, she failed to convince an employment judge that she was disabled, as she was recovering from root canal treatment, and had a recurring cyst and cervical condition. And in March 2022, she then claimed to have been racially discriminated against at work, but her claim was dismissed as “extremely tenuous”.

At a recent hearing in Leeds, Employment Judge Lancaster said she had been pursuing a wrongful dismissal case for several years, despite “insurmountable evidentiary difficulties”.

He also said Ms Dhillon had received three letters since 2020, warning her that there was “no reasonable prospect of success” and that she might be asked to cover some costs.

He added: “Since the plaintiff has disregarded these repeated warnings, even if they have not spelled out in precise terms the shortcomings of the claim as now presented, and its persistence in submit an application which objectively had no reasonable prospect of success, we consider that it should pay part of the costs (of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust)”.

The judge also said Ms Dhillon had ‘incurred significant costs’ and the hearings had cost more than £70,000 in total.

She was sacked by the NHS trust in November 2018, after a disciplinary hearing revealed she was insubordinate and often late, and failed to show up for training classes and failed to show up. followed the correct procedure for booking study leave and recording sick days.