Cancer sufferer told to 'grow up' when he asked for weekends off awarded £40k

Steve Pointon had worked for security firm Alpha Omega for 13 years when he was diagnosed with cancer (Reach)
Steve Pointon had worked for security firm Alpha Omega for 13 years when he was diagnosed with cancer (Reach)

A security firm boss smashed up a phone in a fit of rage when a cancer-suffering employee told him he could not work an event due to his severe illness.

An employment tribunal heard that Steve Pointon was told to "grow up" and "don't be a baby" when he asked to work less hours due to undergoing cancer treatment.

Pointon was a 36-year-old dad-of-one, with another baby on the way, when he received his diagnosis in 2016. He had worked for Crewe security firm Alpha Omega for 13 years.

Alpha Omega were found to have harassed, discriminated against, and unfairly dismissed Pointon, who agreed to work 32 of his usual 50 hours a week during his intensive, experimental cancer treatment.

Despite his length of service, Pointon's contract contained no entitlement to sick pay, leaving him with the choice of continuing to work or supporting his young family on statutory sick pay totalling just £20 a day.

Alpha Omega boss Ken Lawton, described as having "a lack of emotional intelligence" by employment judge Gary Self, smashed up a phone when Pointon informed him that he would not be able to take charge of security of the Stafford Half Marathon on the orders of his cancer consultant.

Alpha Omega boss Ken Lawton (third right) was described as having
Alpha Omega boss Ken Lawton (third right) was described as having "a lack of emotional intelligence" by an employment judge (Reach)

Pointon was contacted out of working hours, including the hand-delivery of a letter at 9.25pm the night before he started treatment, and emailing him when he was in hospital.

A colleague, Andrew Taylor, told him not to "be a baby" when he said him he was not prepared to work more than the agreed four days a week during his cancer treatment.

Taylor told him: "That’s not good enough. I am trying to run a multimillion-pound business and your lack of cooperation is not helping.

"You think this is out of order, when me and Ken discussed it over the weekend, he wanted to take this meeting in his office, and you know how much worse that would have been. Grow up, you are a senior manager, and you can’t expect to have every weekend off."

A report presented to the tribunal said Pointon was made to feel "belittled, utterly worthless and completely deflated at a time when his family and him were going through an incredibly sensitive and emotional time."

The report continues that he was "made to feel as though he was not doing enough and that he was a burden upon them."

Pointon eventually resigned in November 2018, claiming that it was “at the culmination of the treatment [I] received from you, your fellow director and the Company since my diagnosis of secondary cancer in January."

The employment judge ruled that Pointon was unfairly forced out of the company. He was awarded £42,228 for unfair dismissal, injury to feelings and discrimination arising from disability.