Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya cleared of discriminating against former case worker

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya has been cleared of discriminating against a former case worker.

Friday, 5th April 2019, 1:01 pm
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 1:42 pm
Fiona Onasanya entering court. Photo: Terry Harris

Jan Goodenough, who worked part time for the MP in October and November 2017, shortly after Ms Onasanya had been elected, said the choice of location for the constituency office at the Eco-Innovation Centre was not suitable for people with certain disabilities.

Ms Goodenough said there were no ladies toilets on the floor the office was based and there was only one lift in the building, which was broken during part of her time working there.

She also said she was discriminated against because she was not allowed flexible working hours which she said was required because of a number of medical conditions she suffers from. The 61-year-old suffers from arthritis, IBS and chronic fatigue syndrome.

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Fiona Onasanya entering court. Photo: Terry Harris

But on the third day of a tribunal at Cambridge County Court today, Judge Michael Ord said independent MP Ms Onasanya had not discriminated against Ms Goodenough.

Yesterday Stuart Brittenden, representing Ms Onasanya, had said it was ‘impossible’ for employers to cater for every disability and combination of disabilities.

He said Ms Onasanya could not have been expected to move her entire office to fit in with Ms Goodenough’s needs.

Judge Michael Ord said the panel had come to a unanimous decision to dismiss the claims made by Ms Goodenough.

He praised Ms Goodenough’s attempts to get back into work, but said: “Adjustments to hours were made to the hours agreed in the contract.

“The respondent (Fiona Onasanya) had a clear need for her office to be staffed every day.”

Mr Ord also said it was not down to Ms Onasanya to decide on the location of toilets in the office, and it would have been unreasonable for her to have to move office a short time after signing a licence to open the constituency base at the Eco Innovation Centre.

He also said it was not Ms Onasanya’s responsibility to ensure the lift was working - but that was down to the landlord.

He added there was no claim that the building did not fit within the law.

Ms Goodenough said: “I think it is disappointing in general for disabled people trying to enter the work place not to have accommodation made for them.”

Ms Onasanya made no comment as she left court.