Disabled man nicknamed ‘Ironside’ by co-workers wins £6,000 damages

Disabled man nicknamed ‘Ironside’ by co-workers wins £6,000 damages

A disabled man nicknamed ‘Ironside’ by his boss has won £6,000 compensation, following an employment tribunal hearing in Manchester.

Brian Davies, 51, decided to sue his employer ‘Remploy’ after he heard manager Steve Wellens refer to him by name of the wheelchair-bound detective played by Raymond Burr in the classic American TV series.

Mr Davies suffers from brittle bones and has been using a wheelchair all his life. He described the nickname as ‘derogatory’.

He said: “It was never about the money. I’ve given the bulk of it away to charity.

“But it was down to me to keep my dignity and not be slagged off behind my back. I was not born in a wheelchair — even though I will have to use one for the rest of my life.

“Steve Wellens, got upset about something, so he decided to call me Ironside, and that stuck.

“I pleaded with the company to sort this out but they backed him up.

“I didn’t want to have to go to court and have everyone knowing my business.”

Apparently Remploy did discipline Mr Wellens, but Mr Davies felt the punishment inadequate so decided to lodge a tribunal claim.

He said his childhood was blighted by children calling him derogatory names likes ‘Ironside’ and ‘cripple’.

“This is the 21st Century and adults don’t go around calling each other silly and derogatory nicknames like that,” he said.

Explaining the tribunal’s decision, employment judge John Sherratt said: “We find that his dignity was violated.

“If someone uses what might be considered offensive language it does not mean that the person cannot reasonably be offended by remarks relating to him and his disability.”

A Remploy spokesman said: “We accept the tribunal’s decision and apologise to Mr Davies.”


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