Jewish lawyer fired after not going to work on Pesach wins compensation
A Manchester-based Jewish lawyer who was fired after not going to work on Pesach is due to receive around £26,500 in compensation.
According to court documents, NNE Law Limited dismissed Philip Bialick after he took a pre-arranged break for the Passover festival in April 2020.
Mr Bialick began his employment at the firm in January 2020, booking annual leave a month later in anticipation of the festival in April. In March, the UK entered its first pandemic lockdown, but the firm claimed that, “since the courts are not closed…our line of work is considered essential,” and therefore that he should attend work. Two days later, Mr Bialick fell ill and self-isolated, in accordance with NHS guidance.
His isolation period ended on 8th April, when he expected to go on leave to observe the festival. But NNE reportedly said that he should return to work on 9th April, the second day of Pesach.
Mr Bialick explained that he had booked time off for religious reasons and could not come to work but, the next day, the firm asserted that it had no alternative but to terminate his contract.
Speaking at the employment tribunal, Judge Leach said: “We accept that the dismissal had a devastating impact on him and that he was affected mentally and emotionally.”
He added: “As for taking into account that this was a one-off act, the effect of the discriminatory treatment was to dismiss the claimant without notice or pay in lieu of notice. Whilst it was a one-off act, it was a serious one, effectively the most serious sanction an employer could impose on an employee for refusing to attend work on Passover High Holiday.”
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