Retail firm settles disability discrimination case

B&M Retail settles without admitting liability case taken by man with learning disability

Harvey Spence, who has a learning disability, took a case alleging disability harassment against B&M Retail Limited. Photograph: Equality Commission/PA Wire

Harvey Spence, who has a learning disability, took a case alleging disability harassment against B&M Retail Limited. Photograph: Equality Commission/PA Wire

 

A former retail worker has settled a disability discrimination case against an old employer.

Harvey Spence, who has a learning disability, took a case alleging disability harassment against B&M Retail Limited.

Supported by the Equality Commission, the 19-year-old from east Belfast settled his case for £5,000 without an admission of liability.

Mr Spence said he had enjoyed working for B&M for 18 months in a stock-filling role. but that things changed when he received “disability harassment” from some colleagues.

He claims he was excluded from conversations, subjected to derogatory remarks and was constantly told he was useless and that no other company would want him because he was stupid.

“I liked going out to work and earning my own money, it was important to me,” he said. “After a year in my job, some new people I worked with started being horrible to me and it became really hard and very upsetting. I dreaded going to work.”

Mr Spence said that “in the end I had to leave my job as it was making me feel very sick”.

Dr Evelyn Collins, chief executive of the commission, said the 37.3 per cent employment rate for people with disabilities in the North was the lowest in any UK region. “This needs to improve,” she said.