A Manchester-based Jewish lawyer who won £26,500 in compensation on the grounds of religious discrimination has still not been paid, reportedly leading to a severe decline in his mental health.
According to court documents, NNE Law Limited, run by Ali Nazokkar, dismissed litigation executive 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.
Though it is reported that Mr Bialick and Mr Nazzokar were friends of long-standing, their relationship is said to have deteriorated due to these events.
However, it is understood that Mr Bialick has still not received the financial compensation owed to him. Mr Bialick is reported to have said that his mental health has declined and that he has faced serious financial difficulties since his dismissal, though he has since been hired by a rival firm. This has been compounded by the fact that he has not yet received any of the money that he is owed.
A spokesperson for NNE Law said: “I would like to advise that the reason the judgement has not yet been satisfied is due to an application having been made for a stay of execution of the order as there are grounds for appeal which are currently being pursued.”
Speaking frankly about the state of his mental health, Mr Bialick said: “It was really bad. I had no money at all. I went pretty much off the rails. My mental health deteriorated massively. I didn’t know where to turn.
“I was really upset and angry about how they treated me. I was desperate at the time as there was no work so I applied for an employment tribunal straight away. Since then I’ve been chasing them and instructed bailiffs.”
“I have lost a lot of money. I’m getting to the point now where I’m desperate. I’m waiting for this money to come through and if it doesn’t I’m in trouble,” he said.
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